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Sociological Theory: Its Nature and Growth

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Sociological Theory

SOCIOLOGICAL by Nicholas

S.

Timasheff

PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF SOCIOLOGY, FORDHAM UNIYERSITY

THIRD EDITION

THEORY Its

Nature

and

Growth

Random House

I

New

York

ll^

98/6

©

Copyright, 1955, 1957, 1967, by Nicholas

All rights reserved under IntematioruU

Copyright Conventions. Published in

S.

Timasheff

and Pan-American

New

Random House, Inc. and simultaneously Random House of Canada Limited.

York by in Toronto,

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 67-11691

Manufactured

in the

United States of America

Design by Leon Bolognese

Canada, by

To

TANIA

PREFACE

Ten

years have passed since the second edition of this book appeared.

For many sciences and for many decades, nothing spectacular could be reported; this

is

not so for sociology. Sociology

is

a science that

is

rapidly

developing and expanding. At the present time, there are a great

many

sociological theories fighting each other. Beginners in the field of soci-

ology cannot see their

way

clear through the

mass of

conflicting opinions

and they need guidance. Good, objectively-minded instructors can help them, but students must have before them something even more tangible than the regularly appearing teachers; what they need is a book offering them a survey of theory corresponding to the sociology of today, as well as of the

The

major steps made by our predecessors. task of writing such a survey implies a difBcult solution,

one cannot deny that the personal opinions of the author of

this

and

survey

Numerous works as good as those selected for formulation in the present work had to be omitted to make the book readable and to avoid turning it into a poor man's encyclopedia. None of the authors of the omitted works should feel offended by the present author's influenced him.

choices.

One

general remark

is

necessary. Expanding, sociology has extended

upon more and more neighboring this author's strict sense.

fields,

very closely connected yet, in

opinion, outside the scope of sociological theory in the

Thus, the author of

this

survey had to be especially con-

scious of his task. At the present time, such fields are mathematical sociology, statistical sociology, the theory of the small groups

(micro-

Freiace

viii

sociology

)

,

yet impose

and philosophical itself

sociology. Mathematical sociology does not

on the authors of surveys

like the present one, since

the results are meager and comprehensible only to students well trained in higher mathematics. Statistical sociology

only relative to scattered the city of X, such

phenomena

and such

observations could help, but

produces reliable data, but

(for example, in the year

situations could still

in

not offer a basis for the formulation of

generalized propositions about some aspects

theory suffers from the fact that

NN,

be found); a few similar

its

topic

is

Small-group

of society.

also the object of psychology

and, as explained in Chapter 19, deals with units which could scarcely

be considered

as real social groups.

the future. Philosophical sociology

These three in

is

fields are sociologies

danger because

its

of

objects of

observations coincide with those of the philosophers; knowledge of the

corresponding philosophical theories

is

necessary, but cannot

without discussing these theories. Therefore, the author of

be provided

this

book has

preferred to use the rule non multa sed multum.

Many

of the statements

above will be denied by other

sociologists,

not to speak of philosophers. Only time can solve the debates.

To pressed

conclude,

my

I

wish to thank again those persons to

Professor Charles H. Page,

now

Scheuer of Fordham University, and to

up

My

Dr. Gertrud Neuwirth of Temple University,

skoy,

who

to date

I

ex-

Provost of the Adlai E. Stevenson Col-

lege of the University of California, Santa Cruz. to

whom

gratitude in the Preface to the second edition, particularly to

collected

and

much

assisted

me

my

gratitude goes also

to

Professor Joseph

daughter Mrs. Tania Bobrin-

of the material necessary to bring this

book

in all aspects of the preparation of the text.

Nicholas

S.

Timasheff

CONTENTS

PREFACE

Vii

Part One CHAPTER

THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES

1.

What What

How

Is Sociology?

to

Theory?

France

The

9

Study Sociological Theories

Two The

11

Pioneers

AUGUSTECOMTE

2.

in the Early

Life of

Nineteenth Century

Comte

Basic Premises

The Science

of Sociology

Methodology Static

and Dynamic Sociology

Statics:

3

4

Is Sociological

Part CHAPTER

Introduction

Consensus

17 17 18

20 21

22 24 25

Statics: Social Structure

26

Dynamics: Evolution and Progress

26

Dynamics: The Factors of Progress Dynamics: The Stages of Progress

27 28

Comte

in Retrospect

29

Contents

I

CHAPTER

The The The The

HERBERTSPENCER

3.

32

Science of Sociology

34 36

of Spencer Evolutionary Doctrine

Organic Analogy

37

and the Steps of Evolution

Society

The

32

Works

39

Principle of Noninterference

41

Spencer in Retrospect

CHAPTER

4.

42

OTHERPIONEERS

Quetelet:

The

Statistical

45

Approach

Play: Early Case Study

45 46

Marx: Economic Determinism

48

Le

Tylor and Morgan: The Impact of Technology

51

Gohineau: Racial Determinism

52

Buckle: Geographical Determinism

Danilevsky:

An

CONCLUSION TO PAET

5.

TWO

The Emergence

Part Three CHAPTER

54

Early Alternative to Evolutionism

55

57

of

Competing Schools

SOCIAL DARWINISM

6i

Bagehot

62

Gumplowicz

63

Ratzenhofer

65 66

Small

Sumner Social Darwinism CHAPTER

The

6.

68 in Retrospect

72

PSYCHOLOGICAL EVOLUTIONISM:

WARD AND GIDDINGS Life

and Works

of

Ward

Basic Postulates Sociology: Its Division

and Method

74

74 76

Genesis and Telesis

jj 78

Ward

81

in Retrospect

The Basic Concept

of Giddings

Sociology: Its Nature

and Methods

82

84

Statics and Kinetics Dynamics

85 86

Giddings in Retrospect

88

Contents

CHAPTER

OTHER EVOLUTIONISMS AND ORGANICISM

7.

Loria:

Economic Evolutionism

90 90

Veblen: Technological Evolutionism Coste:

xi

Demographic Evolutionism

91

92

Kidd: Religious Evolutionism

93

Novicow

94

Versions of Organicism

95 98

Summary CHAPTER

8.

EARLY ANALYTICAL SOCIOLOGY

Toennies

99 99

Simmel

101

Tarde

105

Early Analytical Theories in Retrospect

107

CHAPTER

9.

EMILEDURKHEIM

The Study

of Social Facts

109 109

Collective Forces in Social Life

H2

Social Interpretation of Religion

115

Contributions to Methodology

117

Social Typology

119

Durkheim

120

CHAPTER

10.

in Retrospect

RUSSIAN SUBJECTIVISM

122

Lavrov-Mirtov

122

Mikhailovsky

123

Yuzhakov and Kareyev

124

Subjectivism in Retrospect

125

OONCX,USION TO PART THREE

I27

Part Four CHAPTER

11.

The Vogue

of Psychological Sociology

THE DECLINE OF EVOLUTIONISM AND THE RISE OF NEO-POSITIVISM

133

Late Evolutionary Thought: Kovalevsky, Keller, and Hobhouse

134

The Empirical Challenge to Evolutionism

136

The Roots

139

of Neo-Positivism

Evolutionism and Neo-Positivism Combined:

The Later Giddings

140

Contents

xii

CHAPTER

12.

CHARLESH.COOLEY ANDW. I. THOMAS

"

Cooley

y

Cooley's Organic Theory

V

The

143 143

Self,

the Primary Group, Class

Summary and

145

and Caste

146 148

Perspective

^Thomas Methodology The Situational Approach and the Study of Action Individual and Social Disorganization The Four Wishes, Types of Personality, Personal Documents Summary and Appreciation •

CHAPTER

V

13.

VILFREDOPARETO

149 149 151

153 154

156 160

Pareto and His Writings

160

Sociology and Its Methods

161

The Social System: Its Structure and Dynamics The Circulation of Elites Summary and Appreciation

162

CHAPTER

14.

165 167

MAX WEBER

169

Weber and His Work

169

The Background

of Weber's Sociology Causal Understanding and the Historical Process

170

172

Understanding on the Level of Meaning and Human Action The Relation of Causation and Meaningfulness The Ideal or Pure Type: Its Nature and Applications

178

Probability

182

Weber's Sociology: In Principle and Practice

182

Summary and Appreciation

183

CONCLUSION TO PART FOUR

187

Part Five

Contemporary Convergence

175 178

in

Sociological Theories

CHAPTER

15.

NEO-POSITIVISM

AND MATHEMATICAL SOCIOLOGY Lundberg

193 194

Dodd

198

The Mathematical Sociology of Zipf, Rashevsky, and Hart Moderate Neo-Positivism: Ogburn and Chapin A Note on Contemporary Neo-Positivism and Quantification

201

206 209

Contents

xiii

CHAPTER

16.

HUMAN ECOLOGY

212

CHAPTER

17.

THE FUNCTIONAL APPROACH

216

The Genesis and Scope of the Functional Approach Some Major Works in the Functional Style Toward a Systematic Functional Theory

216

Functionalism in Larger Perspective

227

CHAPTER

18.

SYSTEMATIC SOCIOLOGY

218

222

230

Sorokin

231

^Varsons

238

Znaniecki

248

Maclver

250

Other Systematic Theories

255

Romans

255

Blau

I'Sl

Gerth and C. Wright Mills

259 260

Loomis

Summary: Convergence CHAPTER

19.

in Systematic Sociology

261

SOCIOMETRY

ANDMICROSOCIOLOGY

264

Sociometry

264

Microsociology

268

Summary and Appreciation

269

CHAPTER

20.

DYNAMICSOCIOLOGY

271

Spengler and the Study of Cyclical Change

271

Toynbee

273

Sorokins Cultural Dynamics

276

Chapin and Kroeber

278

Weber

279 281

Alfred

The Challenge

of

Dynamic Sociology

Neo-Evolutionism

282

Moderate Evolutionists

286

CHAPTER

21.

PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIOLOGY

289

Gurvitch: "Sociology in Depth"

289

The Phenomenological School The Phenomenological School: Summary and Appreciation The Institutional School: Platonic and Thomist Phases The Institutional School: Summary and Appreciation

293

298 297 301

xiv

Contents

Sturzo: Social

Harmonism

302

Teilhard dc Chardin: Philosophical Evolutionist

Mannheim:

Social Structure

and Meaning

Postscript

308

Part Six CHAPTER

22.

Conclusion

MID-TWENTIETH CENTURY A SYNTHETIC REVIEW

SOCIOLOGY: APPENDIX

NOTE TO THE INSTRUCTOR SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

INDEX

305 306

313

323 325 327 333

337

PART ONE

Introduction

CHAPTER

THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES

Sociological activity in the United States

from about World War I until and teacher and researcher

recently de-emphasized theory. Instructor

were largely concerned with teaching or learning or digging up factual information about this or that aspect of society, especially American society,

and were often prone

say,

and even sometimes seemed to

to identify "theory" with philosophy

idle speculation. Empirically established facts, they

speak for themselves and



if

we

gather enough of them

—their voices

will constitute a sociological science.

But science demands more than

facts,

more than

Thus, as sociology matures, the former orientation

careful description.

is

rapidly being re-

placed by widespread recognition of the indispensability of theory. As shall see, theoretical considerations explicitly,

and

we

theoretical concepts, implicitly or

have an essential role in shaping the direction of research,

directing observation, in guiding description

itself.

Today almost

in

all soci-

be explicit. However, if theory is to be used wisely and with sharp awareness we require knowledge of its nature and of its varieties. We need to know its concepts and the diverse terminological forms they take, and, conversely, the different concepts that are frequently expressed by the same terms. Moreover, we should be familiar with the history of sociological theoretical endeavor with its changing emphases, its successes and failures, its promise for the future. These questions constitute the subject matter of

ologists agree that these functions of theory should



this

volume.

We begin with a definition of sociology in contradistinction to related disciplines

and with an explanation

text of scientific enterprise.

of the

meaning

of theory in the con-

INTRODUCTION

What

Is

Sociology?

Auguste Comte

name

intended to

first

the

new

conceived the word sociology in 1839. He had science social physics; but he rejected this term

Adolphe Quetelet, began to make involved statisand to call his area of endeavor social physics. Though the word sociology is a barbaric combination of Latin and Greek, its two component parts aptly describe what the new science wants to achieve. Logy connotes study on a high level ( for instance, biology and psychology high level study of life and mind respectively); socio points to society. Thus, etymologically, sociology means the study of society on a after a Belgian scholar,

tical studies of society



highly generalized or abstract level.

This definition presupposes that a person knows what society tually,

offered

reviewed in sociology

by

is.

Ac-

somewhat conflicting explanations of the nature of society are by different sociological theories; many of these will be met and is

later discussion,

A

kind of vicious circle thus seems to

arise:

defined as the science of society, and society must be defined

Such a

sociology.

scientific inquiry.

situation as this often occurs at the initial steps of

The problem can be solved by

giving to the object of

study a working definition, an approximation sufficient for the present

men

(hu-

in interdependence therefore

may

purposes. So, in a preliminary way, society

man

beings

be taken

)

in interdependence.

Men

may be

defined as

as the subject matter of sociology.

With

this start, a

boundary can be traced between sociology and the

other sciences which study uals with

no regard

men

as individuals or as collections of individ-

Human anatomy and

to their interdependence.

ology study the structure and functioning of

human

beings, that

physi-

which

is

repeated in every man. Physical anthropology studies the variability of the

body

and

structure of these beings

classifies

the variations, making

groups out of men displaying similar hereditary and externally recognizable traits. Psychology ( except a hybrid branch called

nominal or social

statistical

psychology) studies the mental processes going on in individual

minds, telling us to sensations,

how an

and so

Sociology

is

individual

human being

sees, hears, feels, reacts

on.

not interested in man's body structure or the functioning

of his organs or in his mental processes as such. It

happens when groups;

when

man meets man; when human they cooperate,

fight,

is

interested in

what

beings form masses or

dominate one another, persuade or

imitate others, develop or destroy culture.

The

unit of sociological study

is

never an individual, but always at least two individuals somehow related to one another.

However, though the subject matter of sociological study

is

men

in

interdependence, the province of sociology does not embrace every type of study of

men

in

interdependence.

The same matter

is

also studied in

The Study

of Sociological Theories

5

other disciplines, such as social philosophy, history, and the concrete social sciences.

What

is

the difference between these disciplines and soci-

ology? Social philosophy

is

much

a

older discipline than sociology. Well de-

veloped in ancient Greece and cultivated in the Middle Ages, social philosophy blossomed in the eighteenth century, in the Age of the En-

hghtenment which immediately preceded the birth of sociology. In the works of older social philosophers, many propositions are found which easily could be restated in the terms of contemporary sociology. Nevertheless, social philosophy and sociology are two different endeavors of man's inquiring mind. The difference between the two is similar to what, in general, separates philosophy and empiric science, a difference in levels of abstraction and in procedure. Both are attempts to describe and explain reality. Both are based on observation of facts and on generalizations derived from these observations. But here the similarity between empiric science (including sociology)

and philosophy (including

social philoso-

phy) ends. In empiric science, the generalizations concerning a specified

drawn from

field of

observed in that field or in closely related fields. These generalizations are drawn without assuming (neither asserting nor denying ) any knowledge on a level of higher abstraction concerning reahty as a whole. All propositions that constitute any empiric science inquiry are

form a

self-sufficient system.

the system

which

is

On

facts

if it

No

proposition

contains knowledge which

is

is

allowed to play a role in

not empiric, in other words

not formulated under the limitations just stated. the contrary, philosophy

reality in its totality.

From

is

primarily an attempt to understand

a multitude of observed facts, the philosopher

proceeds to certain ultimate principles which, taken together, attempt to How propositions about total reality are derived

explain reality as a whole.

a question not pursued in this volume. In that regard, various schools of philosophy significantly differ from one another. From the ultimate principles of total reality thus established, the philosopher draws certain is

postulates

and axioms and then uses them to reinterpret the particular which he distinguishes in the observed facts. Thus,

classes of objects

whereas the sociologist explains society in terms of

facts

observed in

soci-

ety and, eventually, in related fields of empiric knowledge, the social

philosopher explains society in terms of the explanation he gives to total reality. He can speak of first causes, supreme values, and ultimate ends; the sociologist

is

not entitled to do

so.

In principle the difference between social philosophy and sociology is clear. In practice the line of demarcation is blurred, especially on the level of theories, the very subject matter of this book. In the

sociology there has been

much

development of

confusion between sociology and social

Many sociologists have trespassed the boundary between the two domains and have introduced concepts belonging to social philoso-

philosophy.

INTRODUCTION phy, often of questionable brand. This situation will often be met in this book.

History is another science which seeks to understand men in interdependence, more exactly, in past configurations of that interdependence.

Even

work of the biographical type cannot fail to tell the story between its hero and other men. What is then the difference between history and sociology, the latter, of course, being interested not only in present day but also in past configurations of men's interdependence? a historical

of the relations

In principle, the difference

human

the

is

not

difficult to

estabhsh. History studies

past as a sequence of concrete and unique events, situations,

and processes. The historian tries to reconstruct the past with many empiric details, just as it happened. Take the American War of Independence, the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution in Russia, the New Deal in the United States. How did these events occur and what were the individual processes of which they consisted? Why did they happen? These and similar questions will never cease to interest mankind. But the human mind does not stop at the reconstruction of unique, non-recurring events. Behind them in their singular, historical, time-space setting the

human mind

tries to

discover patterns of recurrence, of repeti-

There have been many wars. Is there or is there not a recurring pattern of their origin, their impact on the societies involved, and their outcome? There are continuous fluctuations of market prices. Is there or is tion.

there not a

common

are committed.

pattern behind these fluctuations? Uncounted crimes Cannot more or less constant patterns be distinguished

despite the concrete variability of crime? Recurring patterns observable in

human interdependence

are the subject matter of the social sciences of

the type to which sociology belongs. These sciences are based on the postulate of order, the logical premise of every study going above the level of simple description.

Concrete sequences studied by the historians are unique and cannot be repeated. There never will be another War of 1812 or another October Victory of the Communists in Russia. But these concrete sequences may be analyzed into elements, and among these elements invariable and nec-

may be established. analogy with chemical study may be helpful here. One hundred and three elements are Known to chemistry; they combine into millions of

essary relations, according to their natm-e,

An

compounds. The chemist explains matter by analyzing the compounds and predicting the major part of the properties of the compounds on the basis of his knowledge of the invariable properties of the elements. In actual life, innumerable varieties of happenings occur. Underlying these happenings certain elements recur which, when perceived, give the events unity and meaning. The historian shows the variable; the sociologist emphasizes the constant and recurring. History describes the multitude of the concrete combinations in which interde-

into their elements

The Study

pendent

men have found

7

of Sociological Theoriea

themselves; sociology analyzes the diversified

combinations into their relatively few basic elements and formulates the laws governing their operation. The discovery of these laws, or statements

about the necessary and invariant relations between a limited number of elements into which social reality can be analyzed, is the very objective of sociology, a counterpart of the objectives of physics, chemistry, biology,

and psychology

in their respective fields.

In practice, once again, the hne of demarcation is blurred. Historians often contribute to the discovery of recurring patterns in social reality.

developments leads them to try to understand them causally. Historical works such as Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History ( 1934 et seq. ) conspicuously invade the field of sociology; while sociological studies such as Max Weber's The Protestant This happens

when

their study of concrete

Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism ( 1906) and Pitirim Sorokin's Social and Cultural Dynamics ( 1937-41 ) greatly contribute to the historical understanding of past configurations of

human

interdependence. These works

bring out clearly the combination of uniqueness and variability in social phenomena. A certain overlapping is there, but this overlapping is to the

advantage both of history and of sociology. Finally sociology must be distinguished from the concrete social sciences, such as economics, government, and ethnology. All of them, as does sociology, study men in interdependence not on the philosophical but on the empiric level. They not only study concrete and unique phe-



United States or the organization of foreign trade of the United States during the present day, but also seek

nomena, such

as the Constitution of the

to discover laws, those necessary

and invariant

nomena according

What

to their nature.

concrete sciences and sociology?

More

is

relations

between phe-

the difference between these

specifically,

what

is

sociology's task

with respect to the other social sciences? To this question, four principal answers have been given by sociologists at different times during the history of the discipline:

Comte believed

that sociology

must take over and digest

studied by these concrete sciences and thus deprive

them

all

the data

of their reason

for existence.

Herbert Spencer thought that sociology was a superscience, not itself making observations of social phenomena, but unifying the observations and generalizations made by the other social sciences. Georg Simmel, a German sociologist working at the end of the nineteenth century, insisted that the study of the content of

human

actions

defined by their ends formed the subject matter of the concrete social sciences. Thus, economics, for example, studies actions aiming at the solution is, production, distribution, exchange, consumption; political science studies actions aiming at the acquisition and exertion of political power. But none of these sciences, Simmel beheved,

of material problems, that

investigates the

form of human actions

in society, the

form

common to

all

INTRODUCTION types of endeavor, such as the formation or dissolution of

competition, conflict. Simmel claimed this

field,

human

groups,

formal sociology, not yet

occupied by any concrete social science, for sociology, the new discipline. Pitirim Sorokin, a contemporary sociologist, has offered a line of demarcation which is considered generally correct even by sociologists

who commonly oppose him

for the content of his sociological views.

made by a Leo Petrazhitsky. According to the latter, if there are, within a class of phenomena, n subclasses, there must be n -|- i disciplines to study them: n to study each of the subclasses, and one more to Sorokin derives his definition of sociology from a statement Russo-Polish scholar,

study that which

is

common

to

all,

as well as the correlation

between the

subclasses.* In developing this idea, Sorokin says that to each of the classes of social

others

—a

phenomena

—economic,

political,

religious,

many

and many

particular social science must correspond. But, in addition to

these sciences, a science

common

(

sociology )

is

necessary to study the characteris-

phenomena and the interrelation between these classes, because these two tasks cannot be satisfactorily achieved by the particular social sciences. The question has been debated, for example, whether the economic phase of human coexistence determines moral and religious ideas (as asserted by Karl Marx), or whether moral ideas of religious origin give special impetus to economic development (as asserted by Max Weber), or whether the relationship is more complex than is assumed by either of the views just stated. Neither the economist nor the student of the history of moral and reUgious ideas is competent to solve the scientific problem because he sees it from one side only; it falls within the province of a science which stands above the divitics

sion of social

to all

the classes of social

phenomena

into classes. This science

is

sociology.

In principle Sorokin's view offers the best possible answer to the question:

What

is

sociology? In practice, however, sociology has evolved

the tendency of annexing those fields of social study which have not been

occupied by the older social sciences, for instance the study of the family,

and

of applying

its

generalizations to those fields of social study in which

the particular social sciences have confined themselves to description, classification,

and comparison. Hence have evolved such branches of

sociology as political sociology, the sociology of law, the sociology of gion, the sociology of art, tral

and

reli-

the like. Sociology, then, consists of a cen-

core of knowledge, approximately corresponding to the definition

given by Sorokin, and of a periphery consisting of diversified studies of various social areas not preempted

by the well-established concrete

sci-

ences.

This situation

harmony

is

somewhat annoying

to those

who

complete

like

in the majestic building of science. Fortunately for this

the problem does not present any signal difficulty, since theory rily

is

volume prima-

concerned with the central core of sociology. ^

Leo

Petrazhitsky, Introduction to the Study of

1907), pp. 80-81.

Law and

Morals

(

in Russian,

The Study

of Sociological Theories

g

There is only one scientific neighbor with which sociology lacks a boundary line, ethnology. Until recently ethnology was confined the study, largely descriptive, of preliterate societies. At present, cul-

precise to

tural anthropology, to use the currently popular designation,

is

inclined to

men in interdependence, leavmodem, complex society. Since

take the role of the generalizing science of

ing to sociology the study of there

is

no authority

men

living in

to resolve the conflict

emerging from the incompati-

work

ble claims of sociology and cultural anthropology, this

will consider

contributions of leading anthropologists and ethnologists to sociological

theory as well as of professional sociologists themselves.

What is.

Is Sociological

Theory?

The preceding discussion suggests indirectly what sociological theory To face this question directly, we may begin by briefly reviewing the

structure of

any empiric

The foundation

science, independently of

of every empiric science

is

its

subject matter.

observation.

The

result of

an individual observation is expressed in a singular proposition stating tliat, at a given time and place, this particular phenomenon has taken place. The acquisition of such statements is a necessary prerequisite for any science but it is never sufiBcient. Individual observations must be brought into order and the manners of arrangement are many. Individual observations may be compared; this is tantamount to estabhshing similarities

and

They may be classified; this means that types or each unifying a number of similar observations. A allows the location in it of the phenomena observed

differences.

classes are formed,

good

classification

not only before tions

its

formulation but also later on.

may be counted and

submitted to

frequency distributions, time statistical formulations.

The

The

individual observa-

statistical treatment, resulting in

series, coeflBcients of correlation,

individual observations

may be

and other

arranged in

genetic sequences showing the gradual unfolding of certain processes, and genetic sequences may be compared with one another and similarities between them discovered. Generalization drawn from the manners of arrangement may be ex-

pressed as laws of nature (in the

field of social studies, social

laws),

whenever specific conditions are present, a definite effect will follow. With certain precautions, generalizations of the statistical type (frequency distributions, time series) also can be transformed into asserting that,

social laws.

And

there are

still

fiurther

procedures conducive to the formu-

lation of such laws.

Findings concerning classes of phenomena are generalizations. generalization no longer refers to any fact in

A

based upon many likely to be established

itself; it is

facts and eventually may be used to predict facts by further observation. Knowledge expressed in generalizations is of a higher level than that expressed in singular propositions. But such knowl-

INTRODUCTION edge

is

not yet the highest level attainable in empiric science; the highest

level

is

that of theory.

By accumulated efforts of men of science specializnumber of generalizations of various

ing in a particular discipline, a large

types are formulated. Scientists then feel the need of unifying the scatresults they have thus far attained. Unification is tentatively

tered

achieved by constructing a theory.

A

theory

a set of propositions complying, ideally, with the follow-

is

ing conditions: one, the propositions must be couched in terms of exactly

defined concepts; two, they must be consistent with one another; three,

they must be such that from them the existing generalizations could be



show the way to further and generalizations increasing the scope observations of knowledge. Theory cannot be derived from observations and generalizations merely by means of rigorous induction. The construction of a theory is a creative achievement, and therefore it is not surprising that few among those laboring in the field of a science are able to carry it out. There is always a jump beyond the evidence, a hunch, corresponding to the creative effort. But every theory thus obtained then must be subjected to verification. It is considered verified, in a preliminary way, if no known deductively derived; four, they must be fruitful

seems to contradict it. If there must be rejected or at least modified.

fact or generalization

tentative theory

This

more

izations. cial

test,

theories

however,

is

only a preliminary verification. For often two or

is

seem plausible explanations of the known

When

this occurs,

observation )

is

of a situation for

used.

contradiction, the

facts

and general-

a procedure called crucial experiment

The procedure

(

or cru-

involves the reasoned conception

which the competing theories would yield contradictory must then be artificially created (in experi-

predictions; this situation

ment) or found if

to exist in actuality. Observation will then decide which,

any, of the theories

this verification

not

is

compatible with the testing experience. Yet even may be discovered later, or generali-

final, for facts

which invalidate the

zations drawn,

science theory

is

is

never

victorious theory of today. In empiric

final.

In a mature science like physics or chemistry, conmionly only one highly abstract theory or a set of interrelated and mutually complementary theories

maturity

is

is

held by the people working in the

reached only after long and strenuous

characterized

by the coexistence

of

two

or

more

field.

efforts

But

this state of

during a period

conflicting theories

—the

marking sociology. There exists no set of propositions commonly held by all sociologists, couched in identical or easily convertible terms and allowing them to present the known facts and generalizations condition

still

few principles. On the contrary, the development of sociology has been characterized by the rise of an unusually high number of conflicting theories. Although this state of things has not yet been overcome the struggle is no longer so acute as it was at the end of the nineteenth century. Today, the majority of sociologists agree upon a

as logical derivations of a

The Study

number

of Sociological Theories

ii

of propositions included in a comprehensive sociological theory,

although they often state these propositions in divergent terminology. (The reader should be aware of the fact that there are alternative terms



same concepts the same ideas; and that, conversely, sometimes and even theories are expressed by the same language. ) There has been a decline in the range of theoretical disagreement and an increase in the range of agreement, as this book will attempt to for the

different concepts

demonstrate. Inspection of the sociological theories of the past and present shows that they revolve around a

few problems, the most important of which are

indicated by the following questions:

What What

is

society

and culture?

are the basic units into

which society and culture should be

analyzed?

What What

the relationship between society, culture, and personality?

is

are the factors determining the state of a society

and a

culture,

or change in society or culture?

What

is

what are its appropriate methods? growth of sociological theory must be focused on

sociology and

The study

of the

the various answers to these questions. In the presentation of the individ-

beyond these questions, because many assume the existence of other basic problems not covered by the questions, or they are so expressed that it becomes necessary to touch upon other scientific problems more or less connected with those singled ual theories one must, however, go

theories

out above.

How

to

Study Sociological Theories

This volume does not aim at a systematic display of the results of the scientific study of society; rather, it does aim at the historical unfolding of the thought system which

and

is

theoretical sociology.

The author

is

not trying

impose a particular theory; he is attempting to visualize the process of the development of theory in sociology manifested in the appearance, struggle, and disappearance or survival of various theories. This book concerns itself principally with the history of the gradual to construct

to

penetration of sociologists into the reality of society. establish the fifiation lel

and opposition

The purpose

is

to

of ideas, to single out cases of paral-

invention, to find out in the earlier theories germs or anticipations of

and to discover the advance of truth through the clash of opinStudy of these matters should help to an understanding of the reasons behind the choices made by participants in the scientific process; it should warn against errors committed in the past; it may show promising the

later,

ions.

ways of further advance. There is abundant material available for this study. But the study is complicated by the fact that sociological theories have developed accord-

INTRODUCTION ing to a pattern somewhat similar to that of the growth of a plant: some branches have shot ahead vigorously with many subbranches, while others have, sooner or later, withered away. The situation is further complicated

by the

fact that, in addition to the pattern of branching, the pat-

tern of convergence

and merger

is

also observable.

While through branch-

ing one theory gives rise to two or more, through convergence and merger

which have started

independent and allegedly incompatible closer to one another and sometimes coalesce into one. Therefore, to attempt a schematic genealogy of sociological theories would be exceedingly difficult and would obscure rather than reveal the principal contributions and trends. theories

explanations of social reality

The complexity

as

come

of the subject under study requires selection and

careful arrangement of the materials. Selection

is always somewhat arbibook does not pretend to be a sociological encyclopedia many valuable works must remain outside its scope. At least three basic types of arrangement are possible. First, theories may be classified into a few schools, based on the types of theoretical solution of the basic problems. This is the approach used by Sorokin in his wellknown work. Contemporary Sociological Theories (1928). Second, theories may be presented in the historical sequence of their appearance; this is approximately the method used by L. Lichtenberger in The DevelopJ. ment of Social Theory (1923) and by F. N. House in The Development of Sociology (1936). Third, theories may be presented according to the geographic areas in which their authors reside; this plan has been used by G. Gurvitch and Wilbert Moore (editors) in Twentieth Century Sociology (1945) and by Harry Elmer Barnes (editor) in An Introduction to the History of Sociology ( 1948), For this book the author proposes to use a combination of the first and second approaches. The survey of the growth of sociological theory will be divided into four periods. The first period, extending from the birth of sociology until about 1875, is the period of the pioneers and of largely unrelated efforts.

trary,

and because

The second

this

period, roughly corresponding to the last quarter of the nine-

teenth century,

is

the period of the battle of the schools and simultane-

ously of the dominance of evolutionism, the battle largely concerned with

the question of which factor (economic, geographical, racial, or some other) determines social evolution.

quarter of the twentieth century,

is

The

third period, covering the

first

a time of indecision, following the

demolition of the evolutionary theory and a growing consciousness of the need to concentrate on empirical studies; during this period stress is laid on the psychological foundations of sociology. The fourth and present

period

The

is

the period of the battle of frames of reference or of convergence.

present period

istence of a large

is

characterized

body

by increasing awareness

of the ex-

of empirically established propositions (hence, a

period of convergence ) and by competition of points of view considered

most adequate

to explain social reality in its totality.

The Study

of Sociological Theories

13

For each of these four periods the most representative schools and most influential theories will be presented, and their interrelationships will be brought out. And for the entire range of growth, persistencies and accumulations, as well as theoretical rebirths, sometimes in will

be emphasized.

new

guises,

PART TWO

The Pioneers

CHAPTER

AUGUSTE COMTE

Since this volume

is

concerned with the study of sociological theories and it will begin with

not with the history of social thought in general,

Auguste Comte, who was the first major figure to assert and then prove by deed that a science of society, both empiric and theoretical, was possible and desirable. But to make Comte understandable the intellectual climate of France early in the nineteenth century must be presented.

France in the Early Nineteenth Century

The

intellectual climate of a society

is

formed by the ideas taken

for

granted by the contemporary intellectuals, the problems commonly dis-

may be more may not be di-

cussed by them, and the methods of discussion. This climate or less integrated; in other words, the intellectuals

may

or

vided into factions each possessing a preferred set of ideas, a particular set of problems,

and a peculiar method of discussion.

In the early nineteenth century the intellectual climate of France

was well integrated. There was pride based on the achievements of mathematics and the natural sciences, and confidence in the omnipotence of methods. In regard to

human

affairs

the climate included belief in the ex-

istence of social laws similar to those established in the natural sciences.

Among

these laws the dominant position

progress or the necessary development of

and better

was ascribed

human

law of toward higher

to the

societies

stages.

This set of ideas

may be

traced back to Blaise Pascal

suggested that the continuity of

human

(

1623-62 )

who

generations be likened to an indi-

who lives forever and constantly accumulates knowledge. Charles Montesquieu (1689-1755), in the first sentence of his famous Spirit of Laws (1748), offered a definition of laws of nature which received com-

vidual

l8

mon

THE PIONEERS

Laws

in the broadest significance of the term,

he said, from the nature of things. The idea of progress was developed by Jacques Turgot ( 1727-81). In an address delivered in 1750 and in a short Discourse on Universal History he tried to show that the advance of man's knowledge of nature was accompanied by a gradual emancipation of his mind from anthropomorphic concepts. This process, in his opinion, passed through three stages. First, men supposed that natural phenomena were produced by inteUigent beings, invisible but resembling themselves. Second, men began to explain these phenomena by abstract expressions, such as essence and faculty. Third, by observing the reciprocal mechanical action of bodies, men formulated hypotheses which could be developed by mathematics acceptance.

were necessary

and (

verified

relations derived

by experiment.

Another protagonist of the idea of progress, Marquis de Condorcet 1743~94). expressed his views in a work entitled Historical Essay on the

Progress of

Human

Reason, written in prison shortly before his execution

which he knew to be inevitable. Condorcet traced human progress in outHne throughout the ages and conceived the possibility of a science which might foresee the future progress of mankind and thereby accelerate and direct it. To estabHsh laws which can enable men to predict the future, history must cease to be a history of individuals and become a history of human masses. If and when this change is accomplished, prediction of the future will become possible, being based on knowledge of necessary and invariant laws. There are no reasons to believe that there are no such laws governing human affairs. Most of these laws are still unknown, but on the basis of historical observation one can assert that progress is necessary and uninterrupted, depending on the succession of anthropomorphic, metaphysical, and scientific explanations of natural phenomena.

The Life

of

Comte

Comte (1798-1857) was bom in Montpelher, France. At the age of sixteen the man who was to become the founding father of sociology enmost distinguished school in France at that time. Its professors, mostly scholars in mathematics and physics, had httle interest in the study of human affairs and society. But the young rolled in the Ecole Polytechnique, the

Comte had. Like many

of the philosophers of his period, especially the so-

philosophers L. G. Bonald and Joseph de Maistre, he was startled by the destructive effects of the French Revolution, by the disorder created cial

through the forcible destruction of social groups intermediate between the family and the state. Therefore the improvement of society early became Comte's main preoccupation, the very goal of his life. But he be-

needed a theoretical science of society. Since this science was not available, he set about creating it. In his opinion this new science depended on other sciences; therefore, he decided to lieved that to improve society one

— Auguste Comte

ig

study the whole series of theoretical sciences which he identified with From the results of such study Comte sought to

positive philosophy.

formulate a system of laws governing society so that he could postulate a cure for society on the basis of these laws.

Comte's achievements, even the formulation of his gigantic enterwere greatly stimulated by the fact that, at the age of nineteen and when still a student of the £cole Poly technique, he became secretary to prise,

the Comte Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825). Though a member of the French aristocracy, Saint-Simon became one of the earliest and most prominent Utopian socialists, one of the social thinkers, perhaps social dreamers, who believed that the problems of the society of their time could be best solved by reorganizing economic production, thereby depriving the proprietary class of the means of production of economic free-

dom, a foremost value of the time. In a pamphlet published in 1813, SaintSimon expressed these ideas: Morals and politics will become "positive" sciences. The trend from many laws particular to individual sciences toward a single and all-embracing law will be completed. Science will become the new spiritual power. Society must, therefore, be reorganized and, in this way, humanity will enter the third great period of

its

history, the

first,

or preliminary,

having ended with Socrates, and the second, or conjectural, having persisted until the time of Saint-Simon's writings. From 1817 to 1823 Comte and Saint-Simon collaborated so closely that it is impossible to distinguish the contributions of the two. This collaboration is especially marked in the work Plan of the Scientific Operations Necessary for the Reorganization of Society. In later years

called this

work

Comte

"the great discovery of the year 1822." In this publication

become social physics, a branch knowledge must pass through three stages, the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive; and that the object of social physics was to discover the natural and immutable laws of progress which are as necessary as the law of gravity. Thus the program of a new science ( later to be renamed sociology ) was clearly stated and the leading proposition of Comte's sociological theory was proclaimed the law of the three stages. Soon after that publication, Comte and Saint-Simon dissolved their partnership and began bitterly to attack each other. Comte never again found a stable and remunerative position, Uving by coaching and examining in mathematics and by other expedients. Personal disappointment and quarrels with others were frequent and his social isolation steadily increased. Nevertheless, a small group of admirers invited him to deliver a series of private lectures on positive philosophy. Comte agreed to the lectures and the lecture notes were gradually pubhshed between 1830 and 1842, forming his voluminous masterwork. Course of Positive Philosophy,

the joint authors asserted that politics must of physiology; that each branch of

THE PIONEERS in six volumes.

While working on

this project,

Comte discovered

the prin-

meant mind uncontaminated by the thoughts of others. In his later years, between 1851 and 1854, he wrote a treatise entitled System of Positive Politics, in four volumes, in which he ciple of cerebral hygiene. This discovery, in application to his

life,

that he stopped reading in order to keep his

applied the findings of theoretical sociology to the solution of the social

problems of

Thus he accomplished

his initial goal, the improvehe partly deviated from positivism and made an attempt to construct a religion of humanity. Nevertheless, one

ment

his time.

of society, but in doing so

finds in the

work a number

of interesting

and important additions

to

Comte's earlier Positive Philosophy.

Basic Premises

The

sociological theory of

Comte forms

a system at the center of

which one finds two correlated propositions: the law of the three stages, and the theorem that the theoretical sciences form a hierarchy in which sociology occupies the simimit. Sciences,

Comte

were be further

asserted in the second of these propositions,

either theoretical or practical

(

applied )

.

The

theoretical could

divided into descriptive (concrete) and abstract, the

first

dealing with

concrete phenomena, and the second striving for the discovery of the laws of nature governing these succession.

The

phenomena, determining

their coexistence

and

abstract theoretical sciences form a series, or hierarchy, in

which every higher link depends on the preceding one because it deals with more concrete and complex phenomena. The base of the hierarchy is occupied by mathematics, which deals with abstract aspects of all phenomena. Next in rank is mechanics, which Comte almost identified with astronomy, a science which, in his day, was making spectacular advances. Mechanics is followed by physics, chemistry, and biology. And above them all was to be erected the new science of social physics or sociology. The law of the three stages means, first of all, that each field of knowledge passes through three periods of growth: theological, metaphysical, and positive. But the individual sciences do not move simultaneously; the higher a science stands in the hierarchy, the later it shifts from one stage to another. It could not have been otherwise, for the simpler sciences had to develop first, the more complex later. Comte believed that aU fields of knowledge but one had reached the positive stage; with the rise of sociology the series would be completed. In Comte's system, however, the law of the three stages is much more than a principle governing the advance of knowledge. The development and education of the individual also must pass through the three stages, as well as the development of human society itself. Positive social development and organization depend on scientific, that is, sociological, knowledge of social phenomena. In other words, "the great discovery of the

I

Auguste Comte

21

year 1822," in Comte's mind, was to become the directive idea for the reorganization of the society that had been shaken by the French Revolution.

Comte was

so firmly convinced of the correctness of his views that he

Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, him a letter in which he took it for granted that the autocratic ( who, interestingly, was well trained in mathematics ) would initiate

sent a copy of his Positive Philosophy to

writing ruler

reforms elevating Russia to a positive society. Comte's pretensions, Hke those of

many

innovators,

and

were

as this incident illustrates,

at times

ridiculous.

But the basic premises of consideration. Comte's

list

his sociological theory deserve respectful

of abstract sciences

is

incomplete.

He

omitted

psychology, which he took to be a branch of physiology, and the relation-

more complex than he beheved it be generally sound. Comte's law of the three stages in the meaning ascribed to it by its inventor is clearly invalid. Yet early explanations of nature and men have often been religious and have been followed by philosophical explanations and later by empiric science. Yet neither of the later approaches wholly supersedes the religious approach; rather, there has been accumulation and often admixture of the tliree. Even with this correction, of course, Comte's law of the three stages could not stand the test of facts ship between the individual sciences

is

to be. His general division of sciences, however, has proven to

today. Nevertheless in a greatly modified form it may be perceived one of the most ambitious theories of the present day, that of Sorokin (see Chap. 20).

known in

The Science

of Sociology

The meaning

of sociology for

Comte

in the system of sciences: sociology social

is

is

suggested by

its

very location

the abstract theoretical science of

phenomena. In 1822 when he (with Saint-Simon) conceived the new science, he wrote: "We possess now a celestial

necessity of this

physics, a terrestrial physics, either mechanical or chemical, a vegetable

physics and an animal physics;

we still want one more and

physics, to complete the system of our

last one, social

knowledge of nature.

I

understand

by social physics the science which has for its subject the study of social phenomena considered in the same spirit as astronomical, physical, chemical or physiological phenomena, that is, subject to natural invariable laws, the discovery of which is the special object of investigation." More precisely, the aim was "to discover through what fixed series of successive transformations the

human

race, starting

from a

state not superior to that

which civiVery reluctantly Comte changed the

of the societies of the great apes, gradually led to the point at

Europe

lized

name *

of the

finds itself today."

new

^

science from social physics to sociology. In the latter

Reprinted in Positive

Politics, vol.

IV, appendix, pp. 149-50.

THE PIONEERS part of his Positive Philosophy he explained that he had invented a the old one had been usurped by a Belgian scientist

name because chose tics.

it

as the title for a

The work he

new who

work devoted to so base a matter as simple statiswas Quetelet's An Essay on Social Physics

referred to

(see Chap. 4), one of the most influential contributions sciences in the nineteenth century.

In Positive Politics,

Comte attempted

to give

more

made flesh

to the social

and blood

to

the rather formal definition of sociology implied in Positive Philosophy. At one place, he seemed to identify sociology with the study of the totality of

phenomena of the human intellect and the resulting actions of men. Elsewhere, he qualified this position by stating that sociology was not the study of the intellect as such but of the cumulative results of the exercise

the

beyond doubt, he did not abandon

of intellect. Since,

his conception of

sociology as a theoretical science of social phenomena, the

the latter

was now

who

it

sum

total of

by him with the cumulative results of the exercise of the intellect. This conception of social phenomena is similar to the concept of culture frequently employed by contemporary sociologists, took

identified

over from cultural anthropology. In germ, this conception of in Comte's work long before it came to be

cultiire

was already present

viewed

as of strategic significance

by

modem

anthropologists and soci-

ologists.

Methodology that the discussion of methods could not

be sepby these methods. methodological views can be reconstructed only by bring-

Comte believed

arated from the study of the Therefore, his

phenomena

investigated

ing together statements dispersed through his treatises.

To begin

with, sociology

must use the

positive

method



this

was

in-

grained in the very program of the new science and derived from Comte's basic premises. But what was the positive method? In answer, Comte said Httle more than that it demanded the subordination of concepts to facts

and the acceptance of the idea that social phenomena are subject to general laws; otherwise, no abstract theoretical science concerning these phenomena could be constructed. In accordance with his understanding of the hierarchy of the sciences, Comte recognized that the system formed

was less rigid than the system of biological laws which, in their turn, were less rigid than physical laws. Despite his advanced training in mathematics, Comte denied that the positive method could be identified with the use of mathematics and statistics. "The proposal to treat social science as an appHcation of mathematics to render it positive had its origin in the physicists' prejudice that outside of mathematics there was no certainty. This prejudice was natural at the time when everything that was positive belonged to the domain of by

social laws

)

Auguate Comte

23

applied mathematics and when in consequence all that this did not embrace was vague and conjectural. But since the formation of the two great positive sciences, chemistry sis

and physiology,

in

which mathematical analy-

plays no role, and which are recognized as not less certain than the

others,

such a prejudice would be absolutely inexcusable." ^ On one occato the "vain attempts of several geometricians to

Comte pointed

sion,

carry out a positive study of society by applying to of chances

probability ) ." (

Once again he had

in

it

the delusive theory

view Quetelet's work.

It

noteworthy that, in the present day, there exists a neopositive school (see Chap. 15) which sees in quantification the ideal of every science, in-

is

cluding sociology. In this regard, neopositivism

is

hardly consistent with

the ideas of the founder of positivism.^

How

then was positive knowledge to be gained in Comte's view?

Comte mentions and

four procedures: observation, experiment, comparison,

method. Observation or use of the physical senses, as Comte correctly stressed, could be carried out fruitfully only when guided by theory. Of the modes of observation, Comte held in little esteem introspection, that is, observation of the phenomena going on in the observer's mind. Some of his statements in this connection anticipate those of the contemporary behaviorists. He himself looked in another direction and believed that phrenology * could best explain the variations of human behavior. Actual experiment, Comte knew, was almost impossible in the study of society. But in the French language experiment often connotes controlled obserhistorical

vation. Fruitful comparison, he maintained, could

human and animal

societies,

between coexisting

be carried out between societies, and between

same society. method Comte meant the search for general laws of the continuous variation of human opinion, a view which reflects the domi-

social classes in the

By

historical

nant role of ideas apparent in the law of the three stages. Comte's historical method has little in common with the methods used by historians who emphasize causal relations between concrete facts and only incidentally formulate general laws. However, Comte only pointed to what ought to be done; he did not show how it could be done. Throughout his treatises he offers a number of inferences from historical facts; but these inferences are rarely convincing and seem to have been arrived at by deduction from the law of the three stages rather than by actual inference.

Two

further points of methodological significance should

tioned. First, in Comte's opinion, society

is

in

one respect

like

be men-

an organism

"Comte, Positive Politics, vol. IV, appendix, pp. 123-24. ' See, however, George Lundberg's counterclaim in Foundations of Sociology

(New

York: Macmillan, 1939), pp.

vii-viii.

Phrenology is a pseudo-scientific theory offered by F. H. Gall ( 1758-1828 according to whom man s mental faculties are closely correlated with the pecuharities *

of his skull.

THE PIONEERS

34

whole is better knovsni than the parts."^ From this proposition he drew the somewhat inconsistent conclusion that such specialized studies as econo mics are misleading because no social. fact_JakenLa_s_an in that the

isolated phenomenon should ever be introduced into science. Moreover, he scored economists of his time for their unwillingness to acknowledge the possibility of any order in society except an order which establishes itself

automatically.

Comte believed

that, in addition to this

spontaneous

be pla nned order established on the basis of knowledge laws and their rational application to concrete problems and situ-

order, there could

of social

ations^

Second, in Comte's work there

more than

fifty

is

a suggestion

which

years an outstanding contribution of

anticipates

Max Weber

by

(see

Chap, 14). Comte took social types to be "limits to which social reahty approaches closer and closer without being ever able to reach them." In this statement, one perceives the influence of Comte's mathematical training, but also, in rudimentary form, Max Weber's ideal type, an excellent logical tool for sociological analysis. This afiinity

statement of Comte, suggesting

how

is

corroborated by a

to use these types in studying social

phenomena. Intermediate cases, that is, cases not coinciding with any ideal type, he pointed out, must be studied under the influence of an exact analysis of the two extreme cases or types. This means that an intermediate case can be best understood by establishing how much of the one and how much of the other, or opposite, type are embodied in it.

Static

and Dynamic Sociology

Comte's sociology

is

divided intoJaaai-

m ajor

p arts,

statics

and dy-

division_taken over from biolo gy ( whichJn_Com te's day was kno wn as physiology} aiid^theief"''^ ^^^ '" accordan cejadth his stre ss on the hierarchy of s ciences and nf fhpir o ssession of c ommoa f o aturc s.

namics. Xhis

is _a

p

Statics i nvolves the study of the conditions of the existence of society,

while dynamics requires study of its continuous movement, or of the laws of the succession of the individual stages. The main fact of statics is order; the main fact of dynamics

is

progress.

More

explicitly, statics is_a^theory

ofoiider-Avhicjjjsjantamount k^Jbarm ony between the conditions of man's

whi ch is tantam ount to jhe fundamental development^-or-evoliitinn, of so ciety^ But order and progress are closely interrelated: no real social order can be established if it is incompatible with progress, and no durable progress is possible if it is not consolidated in order. The study of the two must be existence jn^ society, while dynamics is_aJ3ie ory of social progress

'Relative to an organism, the proposition is correct: even without any special one understands the behavior of a man, a dog, a cat; while the understanding of the operation of the parts, or organs, requires some study. The proposition is, however, hardly tenable relative to society. training,

Auguste Comte

25

separated for analytical purposes only. Static and dynamic laws must be tied together throughout the system. In the present day, this optimistic identification of statics

with order and of dynamics with progress

no

is

longer accepted. But Comte's basic division of sociology continues in use,

though expressed in

difi^erent terms,

such as social structure and social

change, categories familiar to undergraduate students.

statics: consensus In Comte's view, the total social order establishes the laws of nature.

Each

particular order

be

serious deficiencies, but this situation can tion of

human

beings. This conception

may

rectified

according to

by

rational interven-

accordance with Comte's

in full

is

itself

contain many, sometimes

ideas on the relative flexibility of social laws. Order, however,

is

possible

only on the basis of a certain community of ideas held by those forming a society; therefore,

The

no complete

liberty of opinion should

be granted.

basicjEactj)f social jQiderJs^^c onsensus^, iMiioersaUs^_^ie_necessaiy

corrglation/betwee n the elem gnts_of. a society. Such a consensus exists in all

sus

realms of Hfe but reaches

among

human

climax in

society.

There

arts,

is

consen-

within political

between mores and

ideas.

claimed, at times, that Cfflmte^was unab le to ide ntify necessary

or^-

between

institutions, It is

its

the sciences, between the sciences and the

and

civil

political society,

quired institiitional compatibilities and interconnections. This claim

somewhat misl eading t hree

stages

,

Comte

,

fo r

,

when

brings out a

presenting the details of

number

hiS-,law of

is

the

of points concerning these cor-

relations^

Consensusunive rsalis

Cqmje

thej^jyioundation of solidarity as The latter shows that society is once again_jMQalogQii£_JLQL^a^rganism. Here and there specific functions are performed by specific but always solidary organs. Here as elsewhere Comte utilized the organismic analogy, though he never identified society and biological organism. There is a great difference between the two, he insisted: organisms are essentially immutable, while society is capable of immense improvement if guided according to scientific principles. This statement reflects both Comte's faith in progress and his conviction that human society can be improved only on the basis of positive soto

is

well asjh e basis for th e division of -SOciaJJabor.

cial science.

The

division of social labor, continues

cause_jQ£- th e

C omtek

growing—coip plexity of society

;

cooperation nQuslbfi-caififully iitudied. Hence his

another word that he coined.

It

was not

is

the fundamental

therefore^ solidarity

and

em phasis upon^ltaruism,

until very late in the nineteenth

century that the advice of the father of sociology to study social solidarity

was heeded, when another great sociologist, Emile Durkheim, analyzed this phenomenon in a series of important works (see Chap. 9).

THE PIONEERS

26

STATICS: SOCIAL STRUCTURE C omte dis tinguished three levels: the individuali_tfie and soc iaj^combinations, the highest of which is humanity itself. However, he ejiminated the individual from sociological study because a systeni^must consist only of homogeneous elements. Therefore the basic social unit is n ot the individual but the family Nevertheless, he faced up to the persistent sociological problem of the relationship between society and the individual. In society, he noted, continuous and regular convergence of the activities of innumerable individuals is observed. Each individual hves his owm life, to be sure, but he also has a spontaneous disposition to participate in the development common to all without consulting others and while he believes that he simply obeys his own impulses. Fundamentally, then, individual and society In society,

family,

>



are inseparable; they are distinguished for purposes of abstract analysis.

Comte made

a

number

cial unit, the family.

of interesting statements about the basic so-

For instance, he pointed out that the family possesses

a particular degree of unity, a moral character which makes

from other flection;

may

social units. In family

needs are promptly

life,

he observed, there

is

different

it

not

much

re-

on the basis of sympathy. Famihes

satisfied

but commonly they do not. Through

exist in the state of isolation,

and based on conscious cooperation. Of the many social combinations Comte considered carefully only the political type or states. He deplored the fact that groups intermediate between the family and the state had been destroyed by the French Revolution and hoped for their restoration. Concerning the state, Comte did not add much to the already estabhshed conclusions of political philosophers. The political order, he pointed out, is somewhat artificial; but, on the other hand, it is a modification

their coordination social combinations arise, such as social classes cities,

of the natural order

order

is

toward which

all

human

societies tend.

The

poHtical

natural because no society can exist without government, and

government

is

possible because of the widespread desire to

also because of the fact that

many

command and

persons wish to be alleviated of the

burden of making for themselves the necessary

decisions.

DYNAMICS: EVOLUTION AND PROGRESS Social

of

men and

dynamics

is

of peoples.

presented by

Comte

Here the

is

task

as history without the

names

the discovery of an abstract order

which the major changes of human civilization have followed one anThroughout the movement, solidarity must be preserved; otherwise the movement would result in a complete decomposition of the social system. Therefore, no isolated development of individual aspects of social life can take place and be studied as such. This conception is based on Comte's general methodological views and his ideas about the consensus in

other.

universalis.

Auguste Comte

27

Social dynamics must begin with the study of development as such. But thereafter the question may be asked whether development is the equivalent of progress. The increase of the population and the growth of the mental abilities seem to show that the latter is the case. Comte shared

Ae

pjeyalentjopinion thaJL^^oung savages cj)uldLnot deyeXop_asJar^as chiP"

dren born in advanced societies^ His o ptimistic view of progress was ^is acceptance of the theory that traits acquired by an strengthened indiyidua l during hisjif etime could be b iojogi cally transmitted to p rog-

W

«anv_a__\r[gwp£)in

(

title

of

one of

his essays,

of the liberal doctrine

The Absurd

Effort to

ex-

Make

1894 ) The basic law was^ for Sumner, the law of eyoluand irreversible process which cann ot be .

spnnffliiqovis. unilinear,

^angfijL by social effort lE yolution i^jj^Hi'ih''^ "hpRfl hyjLhe.,sfauggIe7o r existence, a contest pitting man against nature and man a gainst man w^th no one to be blamed for the hardships men impose on o ne anottier. The s iirviyfl lof fhr^ inflnprr>mp in«;titijlhiQjif}lj}nrpnfrif!ni^ B ^f^Vm nOW «^""^n[]pnly UScd ,

.

Sumner

also maintained that a correlation exis ts

b etween ethnoce n-

trism^nd the gro wth of g roup solidari ty^ "Tha^xigencies of war with ouN Loyalty to the group,^cnEce for s iders are hat rna]cp. pfiare jnside

w

.

.

.

hatred and contempt for outsiders; brotherhood within, warlikeness

it,



without

grow

all

common

together,

products of the same situation."^

Bagehot and others had made similar observations many years before but only after Sumner's work did these views gain wide acceptance. An equally important and related aspect of Sumner's work is that jie originated the normative (or institutional in Pp^rn»o/->iV>„^*^

Ward

claims,

nomena oc g^rring

is

a true soience since

in a rf^^nlar order, as

it

the

He distinguished sociology from anthropology, holding sociology to be a science deahng mainly with the historical races which have built up CiiiiizatiDn. The relationship between sociology and the special social sciences he explains by means of the principle of synergy. Sociology is a ^nyr^pnnri^ g^n^rot^rl

by the

creat,JYp ynfhPfii?; nf the special socialjci-

gTlpps-

Ward was

also

concerned with the problem of the proper divisions

within sociology. First, he distinguished pure from applied sociology.

Pure sociology, existj.

An

is

a treatment of the pl^eno mena and

etiological diagnosis

therapeutic treatment and

is

all ethical

considerations. This

questions of pure sociology are these: What, why,

o g y, on th e other hand, mngt rrrnrd with to propose

snriv^l id?Tl1?

is

is

to say that the

howj Applied

sociol-

{^p:> c^

Ward was

telic

This classification

never able to distin-

phenomena and was

often forced

both the genetic and the

telic divi-

sometimes even contradicting himself. That part of sociologv which is devot pd fn gpnpfrj^*; Ward further divirjpd iT^

autl^p^ of t;he organic

same proposition^

{not organismic) ap-^

But the interdependence and integration of the social system was asserted rather than explored by these authors. Concrete

preach

to society.

study was

the next generation of sociologists,

left to

some

of

whom

devel-

oped a "functional school" and one, Sorokin, a theory of sociocultural inte( See Chaps. 17 and 18. Another important contribution was Xhe ui^rochement of sociology

gration.

ethnological type

3^i^i-^^5]£gZL.?LJ5?I5-^^—-^^ )

^

,

survev

*;q

thft

who was

study nf modern also n|^^ nf

l^!m^\ inqpQr^anpR of Finally,

a

flip,

miltiir^ in the

number

sncifi[y

first

This method was used by

soc iologists to understand the para-

determination of

human mndnrt.

of valuable sociological concepts

were

either

formulated or rediscovered, Qoojey, for example, specified the nature pf„ Aejprimary groups, a concept that h§s become a standard part of contempo rary sociology's .welLa§ a numb er_of_concepl^ concerning personality formation that have greatly influenced modern social psychology.

Thom as and

Znaniecki clarified the meaning of social and personal organand d isorganization and gave precise defini tions to the c oncepts of ^attitu de and value. Values, though in a somewhaLjii£[fii£iit_S£nse,-i5i:eifi^ ^]sn em phasized by Max Weber and by D urkhejm in his later works ( chronol ogically belongi ng to th^ peripd nnd pr revif^^]^ Important methodological advances were made. As noted above, the jjQeo-pnsitivists and Mfl?? Wffb^^ a^QigneH respert;iv^y a dominant and a ization

significant role in sociology to the statistical

by pr. William

methf^Thomas

(influenced

H all applying an ecological approach to materials dravra from Chicago, not only provide reveaUng descriptive information about various phases of the social life of that Midwestern metropolis but are important these

monographs in specialized fields of sociological study. Since World War II several good surveys of the history and present state of ecology have appeared. The most important among these are Amos H, Hawley's Human Ecology (1950) and The Study of Human Ecology ( 1952) by Phihp Hauser and O. P. Duncan. Professor Hawley of the University of Michigan formulates a new credo for ecology: that the key determinant of social organization and behavior is the impact of the urban community, characterized by size, density, and heterogeneity; and that the main traits of social organization in cities are secularization, development of secondary associations, increased segmentation of roles, poorly defined norms, and, particularly, marked physical and social mobility. The theory of concentric zones in urban areas (the business center, the circle of areas of transition involving slums, poverty, and high delinquency), which originally was the central ecological focus, in recent years has been greatly modified or perhaps refuted by numerous studies of cities in the Americas, France, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. The study of

human

ecology has gradually become one of the chapters of urban sociol-

ogy, that

is,

of a particular branch of sociology, like the sociology of law,

of knowledge, or of rehgion.

Although urban

make

sociologists, as in the case of other speciahsts, often

extensive use of propositions and insights from general sociological

theory and indeed at times contribute to general theory, discussion of is beyond the scope of the present volume. It should be remembered, however, that the modem sociological enterprise owes a substantial debt to the detailed, empirical, and, as in the studies of

such special sub-disciplines

Park,

Burgess,

ecologists.

and Hawley, the

truly

creative

work

of

the

human

CHAPTER

17

THE FUNCTIONAL APPROACH In germ, the functional approach to the study of social phenomena can be traced back to the founding fathers of sociology, and then forward, par-

through the works of Durkheim, Cooley, Thomas, and Pareto. in the second quarter of the twentieth century, under the influence of cultural anthropology, that this approach achieved a definite status in sociology.'^ Functionalism displays conspicuous affinity with

ticularly

But

it

some

was only

characteristics of systematic sociology, another important trend in

mid-twentieth century sociology (see Chap. 18);

many

recent works

could perhaps be classified both as functional and systematic.

The Genesis and Scope

of the Functional

Approach

What is functionalism? This is a question which cannot be easily answered because the terms function and functional, in sociology and cultural anthropology, are given different and uncorrelated meanings. Sometimes, especially in Sorokin's work, the term function is used in the mathematical sense, connoting a variable the magnitude of which is determined by the magnitude of another. More often, function refers to the contribution

made by

a part to some whole, to a society or a culture,

the meaning often ascribed to function by such leading anthropologists as A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, Ralph Linton, and Bronislaw Malinowsld, and also, germinally, in the writings of Durkheim. (We for example; this

is

use the term function in this sense when we say that the function of government is to secure peace and order in society.) As a modality of this second meaning, function is sometimes expanded to designate also the

made by the group to its members (for example, by the family to the survival of babies), or by larger to smaller groups. Again, contributions

^ Illustrative of the growing influence of functionalism are many textbooks, perhaps most notably Kingsley Davis, Human Society (New York: Macmillan, 1949)-

The Functional Approach fjifijii prfinnfll

approach

fre quently refers to the

2.iy

emphasls_upon thejntg-

what is almost the-sam^-thing^ the interjpjmeet^this usage in th works of the author*;

grat ion of parts into wholes or,

^jendence just

of paFt s ;,.one

-al so

t;^

mentioned, finally, ihe expression functional analysis

designate the study of social

phenomena

is

used to

as operations or effects of specj-

such as kinship systems or class systems; therefore, it compound form, struct ural-func tion^^Thi s phrasmg_canjbe found in the „wQrks of Parsons^^nd his lollQwerrXwhose fied social structures,

common^ ^appears

in the

be presented,ini2!hap.-j.8) but may be traced back to Spencer. is confusing indeed, and the confusion is increased when one takes into consideration the fact that, to designate the various meanings of function, other terms are often used.^ Nevertheless, observation of recent developments both in sociology and cultural anthropology shows that the movement known as functionalism is centered around the second and the third of the four meanings of function noted above. Fun ctionalism, then, may be interpreted as maintaining the hypothesis that all social phenomena covered by these two m^anings^Jogether^nd that sociological theory should be focused upon ^hem^ In a form which is not expUcitly stated in any particular writing, the basic functional theorem reads as follows: A social system (the term is often used by the functionalists ) is a real system in which the parts perform functions essential for the persistence (eventually, the expansion or strengthening) of the whole and therefore are interdependent and more vie ws will

This terminological situation

or less completely integrated.

The

functional approach

is

older in biology, psychology, and cultural

anthropology than in sociology. Biology as a science

is

organized around

the idea that each organ, or part of the system called an organism, performs

a fimction or functions essential for the survival of the organism or of the species to

which

it

belongs, or both; as a corollary, the principle of

is stressed. In brief, an organism perceived as a system of functionally interrelated components.

the interdependence of the organs

is

In psychology, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,

various analytical schools painstakingly described the component

( such as cognition, emotion, and volition ) but were unable to grasp its unity. Beginning earlier but developing in the 1920's and 1930's, there arose the influential Gestalt (configuration) school, maintaining that any element of the mental process, if realistic understanding is to be achieved, must be studied in the context of the whole, because the meaning of every element varies in accordance with the total configuration of which it is a part. In ethnology or cultural anthropology the functional approach was anticipated by Franz Boas (1858-1942) who, in 1887, wrote: "The art and characteristic style of a people can be understood only by studying its

parts of the mental process

*Cf. R. K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure (Glencoe, Press, 1949), pp. 22-27.

III.:

The Free

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

2l8

products as a whole."

much

later, in

^

But functionalism

IN SOCIOLOGICAL in

anthropology developed

opposition both to evolutionism and to diffusionism. Evolu-

tionism was described in earlier chapters, as well as theories,

THEORY

its

new

collapse as

including functionalism, emerged. Diffusionism

is

a position

taken by some ethnologists which emphasizes the spreading or diffusion of inventions

from a

relatively small

number

of culture centers

and

its sig-

Contrary to the historical orientation of both which explain every culture item by locating it either in schools, of these nificance in cultural growth.

the evolutionary scheme or in a concrete historical process of diffusion, the functionalists declare that the explanation of every culture item

is

to

does for the whole and, correlatively, in terms of its be found in interdependence with the other items which form the culture. As fre-

what

quently

is

it

the case with innovators, the functionalists were guilty of ex-

aggerations, sometimes seeming to claim that every culture item

is

func-

tional in the sense of contributing positively to the whole culture

manner

and

Sumner. Similarly functional anthropologists sometimes implied that every social system is perfectly integrated, disregarding the well-known fact of social disorganidisregarding clearly harmful customs, in the

of

zation.

The

rise of functional

in biology, psychology,

sociology

and

was

greatly stimulated

gists can trace back their genealogy within their

The

ideas of the integration of parts into wholes

by the trends

But functional

cultural anthropology.

own

sociolo-

discipline as well.

and of the interdepend-

ence of the different elements of a society appeared in Comte's consensus universalis, in Spencer's preoccupation with integration compensating for differentiation, in Cooley's organic theory,

and

especially in Pareto's

The emphasis upon the social structures to the whole was made particular made by contributions The Polish Znaniecki's) latter's (and Thomas. The Durkheim and by by sociology modem work in first major Peasant can be considered as the conception of society as a system in equihbrium.

written in the functional

spirit.

Some Major Works

in the Functional Style

and Helen M. Lynd published Middletown, which has become a classic in American sociological literature. This study is a well-planned and well-executed attempt to understand a more or less representative American community ( Muncie, Indiana ) as a relatively closed social and cultural system satisfying the basic needs of its members. These needs are stated in dynamic terms: getting a hving (acquiring the means of subsistence); making a home (including marriage and child-rearing); In 1929, Robert

S.

training the young; using leisure; engaging in reHgious practices; partici-

pating in community ing care of *

pubUc

activities, especially

operating the government; tak-

health; caring for the indigent; providing information.

Franz Boas, in an

article in Science, vol. 9, pp.

485

ff.

)

The Functional Approach

The

investigation

the

manner

and

statistical

The

of

was carried out

modem

largely

2ig

by participant observation,

in

ethnological studies, though historical documents

data were also used.

Lynds Middletown point

findings convinced the

faction appearing in

that the modalities of

need

satis-

to a definite type of social struc-

namely, the basic division of the population into business and workeach of which performs the essential social functions

ture,

ing

classes,

somewhat

diflFerently.

cultural system

maze

The hypothesis of full integration of the socialverified, the community life being marked by a often contradictory, institutional activities. Side by

was not

of interlocking,

found attempts to employ nineteenth-century psycholand twentieth-century psychology in business, reUance on eighteenth-century laissez faire and use of twentieth-century machines, and so on. However, some uniformities in social change were established, for example, the fact that material innovations were accepted side, the authors

ogy

in child-training

willingly and rapidly than new ideas concerning the relations between husbands and wives, between parents and children, or between social classes. This finding seemed to corroborate Ogburn's cultural lag

more

hypothesis.

Middletown, hailed by some commentators as the

first

important

demonstration of the applicability of anthropological methods and theory

modern complex communities and cited by others as a "new kind of was widely read in American universities in the 1930's. In 1937 the Lynds published Middletown in Transition, a follow-up study of Muncie during the early depression years, which, while maintaining the holistic point of view of the earlier work, focused more sharply on the class structure and the economic and political power relations in Mimcie. These volumes have stimulated a number of similar studies, both in this coimtry and elsewhere. The best known of these is the Yankee City series, directed by William L. Warner, a six-volume report of a small New England city, which stresses its class and status structure, its changing ethnic patterns, and its industrial system. The first vol u me. The Social Life of a^ModernCommunityj presents_WMnerj^iunctional viewpoint in terms of the^folLowing.

to

history,"

ideas:

When

reciprocal interacti on

is

organized in to defined relationships,

called social strucproduces systeins of infonnd^ii^ Each of these .tures which _reg u late the social-l^havinr_jjfjTidiyidiials. structures ( the family, the economic organization, the church, and so on is manifested by patterned rules enforced by formal and informal sanctions. Finally, the various social structures are so interrelated that they

it

form a dynamic

tem in which

totality.

all societies is

This integrated interrelationship of the social sys-

brought about by the emphasis given one structure

and integrates the other structures in which the skeleton provides the other parts of the body. In Yankee City and through-

gives form to the total society

into a social unity in

a framework for

much

the same

way

.

S20

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

out American society, the role of the skeleton

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

THEORY

is

played by the structure of

series, as

well as several other vol-

social class.

A

large part of the

Yankee City

umes undertaken by Warner or making use of his theory and method, depict in detail the systems of social class and their interrelations with economic, genealogical status, and ethnic factors in communities in various parts of the United States. Thus, represented, for example,

this

phase of functional sociology

is

by Deep South (1941), directed by Warner, U.S.A. (1945), and A. B. Hollingshead's Elm-

James West's Plainville, town's Youth ( 1949 ) In Robin M. Williams' American Society (1951, revised i960) a much more ambitious objective is pursued, that of describing and explaining, in sociological terms, the social relations and the concomitant beliefs and values that characterize the people of the United States. Williams distinguishes social organization teractions )

and

print for behavior." tions,

(

defined as a

web

of recurring social in-

culture, especially normative culture understood as "blue-

Complexes of norms backed by intensive

social sanc-

enjoying wide support and associated with major needs or value

The major part of the work is devoted to a survey of major institutions in contemporary America. But perhaps the orientations, are institutions.

outstanding feature of this study

how

is

Williams' treatment of the question of

the partially autonomous institutions are integrated.

He

answers

this

question in terms of a tentative but general theory of social and cultiu^al integration. The means of integration, he explains, are, first, mutual dependence of individual gains and interests; second, exphcit mechanisms of cohesion, including agreement about the rules under which interests may be pursued, the existence of extensive organizations which link together smaller organizations and primary groups, and finally, systems of representation and imperative control; third, reaction to external pressures, such as war or threat of war; fourth, common acceptance of values and symbols. Using these analytical tools, we are able, Williams believes, to understand "the daily miracle of society in being." Knowledge of these integrative mechanisms is not sterile: in our day, says Williams, most errors in pubHc and private life result from a failure to foresee the reper-

cussions of particular acts taking place within the total social system.

Whereas the works surveyed above are concerned with whole ties

socie-

or communities, there are others in the functional style, which are de-

voted to particular aspects of social life. A case in point is Albert K. Cohen's Delinquent Boys (1956). The author unfolds the idea that, within American society, there exists a "delinquent subcultiure," nonutilitarian,

maUcious and

negativistic; this subculture is

met primarily

working class. Cohen poses the question of the causes of such a subculture, and answers it in functional terms by demonstrating how this "subculture" meets actual needs of youth from working

among young males

of the

The Functional Approach

221

class families. The boys of that class are exposed to diflBcult adjustment problems, especially at schools run largely according to the middle class tradition. The evaluations of this tradition encourage the ascription of a

low

status to

working

class boys,

one response to

all the more because The delinquent gang is

which hurts them

of the egahtarian ingredient of American culture. this situation: in its midst,

boys are rated according to

standards quite at variance with those of the middle are negated. Isolated delinquency

is

class,

and the

latter

not an adequate response to these

circumstances (except on the psychological level of frustration-aggression),

whereas group

activity, in this case

dehnquent conduct, operates

within the gang to confer and to enhance status. Put in functional terms, Cohen's explanation of the formation and the activities of delinquent is that they contribute to the solution of one of the major problems young male members of America's working class. Of course, there are "functional alternatives" (see next section) a "comer boy" may try to become a "college boy" (which is easier said than done), or he may accept the situation while refraining from delinquent behavior. Members of delinquent gangs, of course, are not ordinarily aware of the social functions

gangs of

:

of the gang, but this analysis

is

a frequent situation encountered in functional

—a point to be developed

shortly.

While Cohen's Delinquent Boys may be interpreted

in terms of func-

W.J. Goode's Religion Among the Primitives (1951) is explicitly fimctional. The author states that his analysis is sociological (which he identifies with analysis in terms of common value orientation), functional and comparative. Goode's general discussion of functionalism identifies this approach with a view of society as a unitary process, going so far as to claim that society has goals which are not identical with inditionalism,

vidual ends. In his theoretical discussion, the author stresses the parts-into-

whole integration aspect of functionalism. But most of

his

work

is

devoted

to a painstaking study of the interdependence of the religious phase of social life in five primitive societies

familial activities.

the

Dahomean

is

He

intermeshed with the

and, more generally, claims that, natural

and sacred

crete behavior,

with their economic, political and how economic production for

shows, for instance,

by

among

interact with the

latter's

use of the supernatural;

the societies studied, the super-



economic realm ^by defining conbe achieved and by furnishing

shifting the ends to

The religious system supports the pohtical not only expHcitly, but also implicitly and symbclically, especially by stressing institutional motivation.

patterns for avoiding conflicts. And the structure and statuses of the family are often reflected in religion, the gods forming families along human lines. In these societies, at least Goode is not inclined to extrapolation

— —religious rules serve as instruments of integration, offering

conrmion, societal values which help to direct the society as a whole. But the elements of the religious system are not necessarily entirely functional

)

aaa

contemporahy eoNVERCENCE

in sociolocicai.

theory

—for they may inhibit other areas of action which enhance the welfare of the society; several such illustrations appear in the detailed studies of the

economic, political and familial

activities.

Toward a Systematic Functional Theory These studies constitute a small but representative sample of the now often used in sociology. However, until very recently theoretical codification of this approach had not been developed. One attempt was that of the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski His Scientific Theory of Culture ( 1944 ) claims for cultural ( 1884-1942 ) functional approach

.

anthropology the role of the generalizing social science (see Chap. 1), presents an undeveloped definition of functionaHsm, and illustrates the use of functionahsm in research. Malinowski dismisses the rough ap-

proach to functionahsm that reduces that everything

is

it

to the almost useless proposition

related to everything else.

cedure of isolation

is

To avoid

advocated by Malinowski,

who

this pitfall, the pro-

states that "the func-

usage the term institution group as well as to estabhshed methods of procedure. Each institution carries out at least one sociaLfunction, y/hich is to_say jt meets an-established social need. MaHnowski presents two axioms which, he declares, must underlie every scientific theory of cultiu^e. First, every culture must satisfy man's biological needs, such as nutrition, procreation, protection against damaging forces of climate, dangerous animals, and men; but culture must also provide for occasional relaxation and the regulation of growth. Second, eyery culturaLachievement is an instrumental —enhancement of human physio logy,, referring directly or indirectly to the satisfaction of a. bodily need^ Malinowski expresses the conviction that it tional isolate

is

Institution." (In Malinowski's

refers to a social

.

is

possible "to link

up

functionally the various types of cultural response,

such as economic, legal, educational, scientific, magic, and reUgious," to biological needs, elementary or derived. Thus "the fimctional explanation of^art^-recreation and pubhc ceremonial might have to refer to irectly

j

phj^girajj-ftartinns of the organism to

rhvthm. sound, color,

line,

^

form^

T^to-dieir-Gombinations^li

As presented by Malinowski, who, with Radcliffe-Brown,

is

commonly

believed to be the outstanding exponent of functionahsm in cultural an-

—though not —almost seems to become a

thropology, functional theory

Trobrianders

his

famous

field studies of

the

partial revival of biological de-

terminism, which few of

its

contemporary exponents conceive functional-

ism to be.

Functionalists

ap and cultural dive rsity, which may In the firstplacejand this starting point is

to day are developing a type of theory, especially

^_jVlirah]p fn thp stiid yof social structure

be

briefly depicted as follows. *

Bronislaw Malinowski, Scientific Theory of Culture (Chapel North Carolina, 1944), pp. 174-75.

versity of

Hill,

N.C.: Uni-

a

The Functional Approach

223

^oftenobscure d in the writings^ofJhLactiojmlistsjLjJifi rri^m^pnannf* anH

fVi^

possible exjf'"*"'"" »f ^ ^'""p ^"^ '*^'^ snrial system, f*^ wfill^agJJT^jTpr!!Jgtg]lCg_^!!J-lbe prxsiiVtlp-imprnvpmpnf nf t\\fi group's cu ltuTC, are d efined,

Bt Jeast implicitly, as the gro up's objectives__or goals. Empirical study should reveal a given system's functional requisites, that is, the conditions

under which these objectives can be achieved. It can then be shown that specific parts of the group's social structure and culture operate as mechanisms that satisfy (or do not satisfy) the functional requisites. Further propositions follow as broad theoretical guides. First, universal functional

needs can be met in different ways, illustrated by social and cultural variation;

and individual

societies, so to speak,

have "selected"

their particular

procedures from a wide range of cultural possibilities. But, second, the number of such "choices" is always limited, limited by the biological characteristics of man and by his social and psychic needs; hence the prevalence of independent and parallel inventions in different societies ( phenomenon which served the evolutionists as one of their strongest argu-

ments ) Third, the range of "choices" for a specific society is further limited by the interrelationship and, in some measure, the interdependence of the choices themselves; thus, the adoption of one type of kinship sys.

tem, for example, restricts the

(More

areas.

growth

concretely, as

number

it

of possibihties in other institutional

has often been noted,

in traditionally agrarian societies

termine, the

number and type

no doubt

of possible pohtical

modem

limits,

industrial

but does not de-

and other

institutional

A

major task of functional analysis is to discover the number and type of cultural possibilities under diverse social conditions. An ambitious effort in that direction may be seen in The Structure of Society (1952) by Marion Levy, Jr., influenced also by the "structuralfunctional" lines of T. Parsons' theory (see Chap. 18). The further advance of functional theory requires a clear imderstanding of the concept of function itself as well as the development of a methodology which can be used to establish the functional interrelations of various segments of a sociocultural system and their significance for the persistence ( or eventual expansion ) of the whole system or of subsystems within it. Conceptual analysis of function and its subconcepts has been provided by Professors Levy ^ and Merton. Merton defines function as "th ose ob served consequences_which makeJorJhe-Rdaptation flnd jadjustment of a^ven system." * This definidevelopments.)

tion,

we

believe,

ture, that

is,

is

somewhat misleading. The function

a culture

trait,

of a partial struc-

custom, institution, or subsystem (A), more

its operation, is not identical for system N with the consequences of the operation of A, but with the meaning of these consequences or of the specific contribution of these consequences for N. Let

exactly, of

"Marion Levy, versity Press, 1952), •

Jr.,

The

Chap.

R. K. Merton, op.

Structure of Society (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Uni-

2.

cit.,

p. 50.

a24

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

THEORY

Then we can say that the specific contribution which A makes for the persistence of N is M. Or, expressed in another way: a contributive cause of the persistence of N (say, the family) is A

US designate them by M.

(

for example, the incest taboo ) because of

family roles )

.

It

would not be

M

(

prevention of confusion in

functional, but teleological reasoning,

how-

one claimed that the prevention of confusion of roles in the family is the cause of the incest taboo. The problem of the origin of functionally relevant traits is beyond the scope of functional analysis J What procedures may be used to apply and test functional hypotheses? Mental experiment is one possibility. We can sometimes calculate, at least within broad limits, what would happen in a society if a partial structure were eliminated or interrupted in its operation. Thus, a specific economic institution, say, or a sociocultural pattern such as organized sport may be "thought away" (Weber's conception) and the probable consequences for the society may be estimated. But we should not forget the words of caution of Max Weber concerning mental experiment which he proposed as a legitimate tool of causal analysis, to be sure, but nevertheless stressed its limitations (see Chap. 14). The comparative method is another possibility. Comparison can be performed on the qualitative and on the quantitative levels. Qualitatively, if two social situations could be found diflPering by the presence or abever,

if

sence of a particular

trait

or partial structure, the differential conse-

quences of this dissimilarity for the survival and prosperity of the total system may be established. One way to quantitative comparison is set forth in the works of Sorokin (a bitter foe of the functional approach, though in one sense an extreme functionalist, as we shall see in Chap. 20). Sorokin suggests methods to quantify the proportions of functionally contradictory or consistent elements in a culture, for example, religious art in

a secular or in a religious culture. Sorokin holds that, first, fluctuation of such magnitudes in time and their distribution in space can be established; second,

if

these fluctuations and distributions follow the pattern of

concomitant change, functional interrelationship of the established; but, third, functional interconnection tions

and

distributions follow

random

patterns.

is

traits is

refuted

if

thereby

the fluctua-

These propositions are

incorporated in Sorokin's dynamic sociology.

Another procedure available to functional analysis

is

observation and

analysis of the consequences of various types of disturbance to a society

brought about by internal or external events or both. Thus, study of the effects of a declaration of war, for example, or of a revolutionary invention such as atomic power may reveal hitherto imsuspected persistencies or functional relations (or weaknesses) in a social system. Indeed, an

enormous amount of research along these lines is being conducted today and, while most of it is not explicitly functional, it no doubt will contribute to the further development of functional theory. ' These propositions have been developed in H. C. Bredemeyer's article "The Methodology of Functionalism," American Sociological Review, 20 (1955), 173 ff.

The Functional Approach

225

These procedures represent only some of the methodological possibilof potential use in functional analysis, ( Mental experiment, comparative method, and study of the effects of disturbance, of course, have been and are employed by representatives of other approaches.) The interdependence and interplay of empirical research of various types and the growth of functional theory have recently been stressed by several scholars, perhaps most effectively by Merton in his Social The ory and_S ocial

ities

""

Structure.

In this same volume, Merton makes some important contributions to functional theory.

He

attempts to codify systematically a protocol or

an effort designed to present "the hard core and inference in functional analysis." ® In this effort, Merton makes explicit the distinction between manifest and latent functio^ a distinction found in implicit form in the works of numerous

paradigm

for functionalism,

of concept, procedure

scholars. Manifest functions refer to the objective 'cific social

or cultural unit

which contribute

to

its

consequences of a speadoption or adjustment

and were so intended by the participants; latent functions refer to unintended and unrecognized consequences. Thus, to cite a well-known illustration of Merton's, a manifest function of economic consumption is use, while one of its latent functions is (or was, at one time), as Veblen stressed, the maintenance or enhancement of prestige. In the few years since the publication ( 1949 ) of Merton's work, this distinction has been employed extensively by American sociologists. The distinction, as Merton himself stresses, and as he illustrates in a short but masterful essay on the urban political machine in which this organization is portrayed as meeting existing needs of various groups that are not efiBciently fulfilled

by

oflBcial institutions, is especially

valuable because

it

calls attention to

be overlooked in social analysis. Merton's discussion of the pohtical mach ine also illustrates

latent functions that are apt to

tlie

con-

ceptjDf^un^t^onal^kematives, esse^ "once we abandon the gratuitous ass umption of the junctional indispensability of given so-_ cial s tructure s": it sho uld notjbe^sjumed, for example, that the machine provid es the only way of me eting the needs of ^uch groups as businessme n^ and ambitious members of d eprived^gme nts of the population. The concept of functional alternatives "focuses attention on the range of possible variation in the items

which can,

in the given instance, subserve a

functional requirement. It unfreezes the identity of the existent inevitable."

and the

®

Finally,

Merton cautions against preoccupation with the

social str u cture," a te ndency_of

sdipol. In this connection,

"statics of

jert ain repre sentatives of the functional

he_employs_Ae^ concept

of dysfunctions:

"those observed consequences whichJessen the adaptation..Qr adjusbneht

ofthe

sys tein/l.( Ethnic discrimination, for example,

'

Merton, op.



Ibid., p. 5a.

cit.,

p. 49.

may be

said to

be

)

226

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

THEORY

dysfunctional in a society that stresses values of freedom and opportuThe co ncept of dysfunction, Merton declares, "which impHes the

nity.)

concept of strain, stress and tension on the structural level, provides an an alytic al approach to the study of dynamics and change." ^° Recently a symposium, Functionalism in the Social Sciences, edited

by Don Martindale, appeared. Of its nine papers, only two pertain strictly to the field of sociology, those by Jan Whittaker (of the University of Cardiff ) and by the editor. These two authors appear to be in full accord. They deal at length with the division of functionalism, opposing holism to elementarism, which Martindale defines as follows: Holism is the view that the basic social reality consists of interrelated wholes which are superior to the individual and his actions in the whole, but one cannot reduce the whole to the actions of the individual .

.

.

Elementarism is the view that the basic social reality is constituted by individuals and their acts. Social events consist solely in their interaction. Any notion that interaction possesses new or emergent properties such that some sort of whole with irreducible properties of its own arises is a pure product of reification.^i

Martindale believes that a useful classification of types of theoretical be achieved by crossing one dichotomy, in this case the

analysis can

epistemological distinction noted above, with another, which in his preis derivable from the opposition of mind (soul) to matter (body). The second dichotomy appears to be that which exists between positivism ( ascribing reaUty only to matter or acknowledging both mind and matter) and anti-positivism. In this way he develops a fourfold

sentation

classification: positive

and

hohsm,

anti-positive holism, positive elementarism,

anti-positive elementarism.

To what

be helpful in scientific discusbe explained remains to be seen. (It is neither all-inclusive nor necessarily correct.) However, the ontological dichotomy of holism and elementarism is applicable perhaps to the essential difference between what are now often termed "macrosociology" and "microsociology." ( Microsociology is illustrated primarily by the emerging and somewhat fashionable "small group theory." This development is not treated in the present volume, however, because we beheve it to be of ephemeral interest only to the study of sociological theory as such. Small group theory, necessarily concerned in substantial measure with the explanation of individual behavior, overlaps widely with psychological theory, which in turn raises basic questions of a philosophical nature, including those involving the mind-body distinction. These are beyond the scope of the present discussion. extent this classification will

sion in obtaining

new

insights into facts to





"/foii., p. 53.

" Don Martindale, 'Ximits

of and Alternatives to Functionalism in Sociology," Martindale, ed., Functionalism in the Social Sciences, The American Academy of Political and Social Science Series (Philadelphia: 1965), pp. 150-51. in

Don

The Functional Approach

More

227

generally, opinion about functionalism remains divided.

cellent article, both critical

vincingly emphasizes that the functional approach

"Why?"

tional to the causal approach: to the

former's

"What

makeup

of social

An

oflEers

insights addi-

of the latter

it

joins the

^^

Although not explaining the genesis or precise systems, functionalism allows us to understand why cer-

for?"

tain elements of these systems are, or at least tend to be, persistent

why some

ex-

and sympathetic, by Alvin W. Gouldner, con-

Modern

and

have not fallen into the error of earher sociologists denounced by Durkheim; they do not derive the persistence of specified types of social systems from their utility, but treat the utility with the same importance as the problem elements occur so frequently.

functionalists

of causaHty.

Functionalism in Larger Perspective

new but rapidly growing accomplishments are promising but still tentative. Functionalism's position concerning the basic problems of sociological theory may Functional theory and research represent a

approach.

Its

be summarized

as follows:

The trend stated, say, by

takes over the conception of society as a social system, as Pareto.

Most

functionalists imply,

if

they do not explicitly

emphasize, that a social system operates meaningfully. The operations of the system are oriented toward the needs of the members. The term culture often appears in functional literature as interchangeable with social

system.

The units of observation vary from v^riter to writer. For example, Malinowski, unfortunately, chose the social group (which he called instiThe Lynds focus upon human needs to be satisfied by a society conceived as a going concern. Merton (and Levy) outlines an inclusive scheme for sociological observation, but his own studies are primarily

tution).

concerned with social structures.

^The problem

^

licitly

and society is not expointed out in Chapter 12,

of the relationship of individual

discu ssed, though Thomas, as

we

pioneered important work in the functional interrelations of personality

and c ulture.

The questions of the determinants of social structure and of social change are answered emphatically in favor of multiple causcvtion. Many, but functionally interrelated, factors determine the configuration of a society as well as its changes; this view seems to be widely shared. But the functionalists share no preferred definition of sociology.

Some

of them, especially those

who

are not sociologists,

would

incor-

porate sociology in cultural anthropology.

The methodology

of the functionalists has

been weak, often

resting

""Reciprocity and Autonomy in Functional Theory," in Llewellyn Gross, ed.. Sociological Theory (Chicago: Row, Peterson, 1959).

Symposium on

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

228

on

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

intuition or the ability of the observer to "see" functions

partial structures, correlations, integrations,

and so

on.

THEORY

performed by

We have suggested

a few ideas about more precise procedures. More thorough treatments of methodological problems can be found in the works of Merton and Levy.

The

relatively short experience of functionalism

seems to point to the

meaningful description of social structures and culture in functional terms requires a "central theme" around which the rest of the sociocultural system can be intelhgibly organized.^^ Moreover, as Sorokin, Merton, and others have stressed, it must be recognized that societal intefact that a

gration

is

never complete, and that every society and culture contains

ele-

ments which are misfits within the whole. The failure to conceive of society as a dynamic and imperfect equilibrium unfortunately characterizes the

work

of

some

functionaHsts, especially in cultural anthropology.

good reasons

Finally, there are

to believe that the hypothesis of ex-

treme functionalists, according to which all parts of a culture have positive functions, has been misleading. The more cautious and more realistic formulations of the anthropologist Ralph Linton, who assumes the existence of "functionless items," ^^ and of Merton and Levy, who hypothesize non-functional consequences ^^ and dysfunctions, should encourage

more

the development of a

sophisticated functional theory.

perhaps more promise than achievement. But it is an important promise. Mathematical sociology would reduce sociology to measurement. Functionalism does not preclude measurement (or other research techniques). But functional analysis directs attention toward Functionalism

is

answer the question: What do specific and diverse the point of view of the whole social order? Sometimes, functionalism becomes quasi-philosophical by identifying function with objective, that is transpersonal finality. This shows up for instance in Goode's statement that societies have goals of their own. Still stronger is the expression of the same idea by a Belgian scholar, H. Janne. meaning;

it

strives to

phenomena mean from

Janne envisions a

new

type of general theory, integrating into a coherent

whole the main trends of contemporary sociology.^^ Who speaks of function, he argues, admits unconscious and objective finality; in other words, social phenomena or processes are viewed as if they were unfolding toward the achievement of definite ends. This situation is conspicuous in education. In communicating knowledge, educational institutions pursue ends of their own, while children and young persons strive for personal goals. But at the conclusion of formal education young people are often " Cf. W. L. Warner and P. S. Lunt, The Social Life of a Modern Communitu (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1941). See also Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Cul1934), and P. A. Sorokin, Social and Cultural DyAmerican Book, 1937-41) for larger-scale efforts to establish central themes of whole cultures. " R. Linton, The Study of Man (New York: Appleton-Century, 1936), p. 406. " Merton, op. cit., pp. 50-51; Levy, op. cit., esp. Chap. 2. " "Fonction et finality en sociologie," Cahiers internationaux de sociologie, vol. 16 (1954). ture (Boston:

Houghton

namics, 4 vols.

(New

Mifflin,

York:

The Functional Approach well prepared for adjustment to social

life

—much as

if

229

there were a cen-

groups and individuals involved and balancing their particularistic tendencies; similarly with the economic system based on free enterprise, and with the invention of tools ter consistently directing the activities of the

is determined by the functional exigencies of the dynamic adjustment of group members to the environment. The historical process, as shown by Henri Pirenne, can be interpreted as possessing objective final-

which

ity,

goal directedness toward specified aspects of the present.

Such extensions of the meaning of functionalism are by no means A functionalist may remain on safe ground by confining him-

necessary.

self to answering questions about ascertainable contributions of parts to wholes (or vice-versa), and about the kind and extent of integration of the elements of a social system.

CHAPTER

18

SYSTEMATIC SOCIOLOGY

The

phenomenon

midcentury development of sociological dominates the field in the United States and has also been acknowledged by many scholars in Europe and Japan. Semantically, systemic would have been preferable to denote this trend; but this is an artificial term and it is highly desirable central

theory

is

a trend

we

in the

shall call systematic. It

not to plant into sociology too

many

neologisms that allow

its

denigrators

to speak of a sociological "jargon."

system, designating a whole of which the parts are interand integrated around a central core, is not new in sociology. Spencer had already used it, and in Pareto's teaching it occupied a central position. But Pareto employed a faulty approach to the study of society as a social system; for him the latter was to a large extent psychological, in the sense of the reduction of social phenomena to mental processes, which met the devastating critique of Durkheim. In the treatment of the concept system and its application to society

The term

related

by

today's protagonists of the systematic trend, "system" refers to

behavior

in society.

that social

The

human

systematic sociologists assert and demonstrate

phenomena, though

closely connected with certain mental

most complex before However, psychologists. by grouping ways, which differ from important it is our time, of systematists prominent views of presenting the

phenomena

resulting in behavior, are interconnected in the their

to eliminate a possible confusion

with the term systematic sociology as

it

is used by some German sociologists, particularly Leopold von Wiese. Von Wiese has employed system to characterize a treatment of social phenomena resulting in propositions that can and must be treated as

forming a system (note: not the facts themselves but their reflection in the minds of sociologists ) in contradistinction to the study of their genesis and development; this contradistinction is quite similar to that conventionally

drawn between

static

and dynamic

sociology. Static sociology,

Syatematic Sociology

331

however, should not be confused with an approach that would consider social facts as immutable. All major representatives of present-day systematic sociology are concerned, though in varying degrees, with both social structure

and

social change.

Sorokin

Having defined systematic sociology, we can consider the works of a who may be designated as a protagonist of the systematic trend, one who must be singled out, we believe, and given first rank in creative ability, erudition, and command of the prerequisites leading sociologist,

of a system of scientific thought. This scholar

(188^

is

Pitirim A.

Sorokin

).

Sorokin was

bom

in a

studied at the University of

remote village of northeastern Russia.

St.

Petersburg and early in

life

He

embarked on a

career of teaching, scientific research, and writing, as well as political

1914 his monograph Crime and Punishment, Heroic Act and Reward was published and in 1919 his System of Sociology ( two volumes, in Russian ) a work somewhat behavioristic in orientation. activity. In

,

Sorokin in 1917 acted as secretary to Alexander Kerensky, head of Russia's provisional government, and, after the latter's fall, actively participated in the struggle against

Communism. He was

tenced to death; but the penalty was commuted to in Czechoslovakia, he came to the United States.

arrested, tried, sen-

exile.

After two years

In this country, Sorokin became professor of sociology at the Uniwhere he wrote two outstanding works. Social Mo-

versity of Minnesota,

(1927) and Contemporary Sociological Theories (1928). The latter is a systematic study and criticism of the main "schools" of sociology, emphasizing their different approaches to the problem of the determinants of the structure of society and of social change. In 1930, Sorokin bility

volume

and there estabHarvard department of sociology, of which he was chairman for a decade. During his Harvard years his publications were prolific. His major writings include his magnum opus. Social and Cultural Dynamics (four volumes, 1937-41); the monograph Sociocultural Causality, Time and Space ( 1943 ) which may be considered a supplement to the Dynamics; and a systematic treatise on sociology, unique in American sociology in terms of comprehensiveness and integration. Society, Culture, and Personality (1947). In 1950, he made a substantial addition to his Sociological Theories by publishing The Social Philosophies of an Age of Crisis. In 1956, he published Fads and Foibles in Contemporary Sociology, a critical appraisal of mid-twentieth century sociology and in 1966,

became

professor of sociology at Harvard University

lished the

first

,

Sociological Theories of Today.

In 1959, Sorokin celebrated his seventieth anniversary. His admirers

and former students brought out two volumes

in

honor of that event: one,

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

232

edited

by Professor

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

Philip A. Allen, appeared under the

title

THEORY

Sorokin in

Retrospect (1962) and consisted of articles discussing various aspects of Sorokin's contributions; the other, edited by Professor Edward A. Tiryakian, entitled Sociological Theory, Values, and Sociocultural Change

contained unrelated monographs in the style of a Festschrift} ( 1963 ) Sorokin himself recently has published a very readable autobiography »

under the critic

and

A Long

title

name

Sorokin's

Journey. These publications helped to restore

to the limelight of

American sociology. Always a candid was elected presi-

a rather controversial figure, this great scholar

dent of the American Sociological Association for the years 1964-1965. Sorokin's outstanding reputation here and abroad is suggested by the

many

most of his numerous books, the recent republication of Social Mobility and Contemporary Sociological Theories, and the current project in England to condense the latter volume and to combine it with the recently completed Sociological Theories of Today ( 1966 ) The last-named work is a large-scale survey and critique of major publications translations of

.

In sociology, as well as of contributions in other disciplines of particular

sociological relevance.

own

In this ambitious study, the latest revision of

and the imder the categories: main classes of sociological theories are discussed Sorokin's

theories are presented in the introductory section

1) nominahstic-singularistic, 2) theories of cultural systems, 3) theories of social systems, 4) taxonomies of sociocultural systems (including their changing patterns ) Sorokin does not locate his own theories in this .

scheme, but

work

we may

infer

from certain comments that he sees

his

own

as a special case of "integral sociology" in the tradition of Aristotle.

Sorokin's publications

may be

divided into those which contribute

primarily to systematic sociology proper and those dealing with dynamic

we will consider the former; dynamic sociology be discussed in Chapter 20. In Chapter 1 it was pointed out that Sorokin has defined sociology in a way that seems acceptable to sociologists of various trends and in a way

sociology. In this chapter, will

that describes accurately the scope of theoretical sociology. Thus, sociol-

ogy, he declares,

is

the study of the general characteristics

common

to all

phenomena, of the relationship between these classes, and of the relationship between social and nonsocial phenomena.^ In Society, Culture, and Personality Sorokin provides another delineation of the field,

classes of social

pointing

more

tion: Sociology

precisely to the appropriate areas of sociological investigais

the generalizing theory of the structure and dynamics of

a) social systems and congeries (functionally inconsistent elements), b) cultural systems

and

congeries,

and c) personahties

in their structural

^The present writer contributed to both volumes, with an article discussing Sorokin on war, revolution, and social calamities for the first, and an essay on the sociology of Luigi Sturzo for the second. "Pitirim A. Sorokin, Contemporary Sociological Theories (New York: Harper, 1928), p. 760.

233

Systematic Sociology

main

aspect,

types, interrelationships,

and personality processes.^ Some which is developed

of the terms used in this definition require explanation, in the following pages.

In accordance with the view of

many

going back to

sociologists,

Simmel, Sorokin chooses interaction as the unit into which social pheanalyzed. "In its developed forms," he explains, "the term that had been employed by Spencer] is found exsuperorganic [a the realm of interacting himian beings and in the products of clusively in Interaction in this context refers to "any event by interaction."* their

nomena should be

which one party tangibly influences the overt actions or the of the other."

^

The

organized groups of

subjects of interaction are either

human

state of

mind

individuals or

human beings.

Sorokin Hmits the concept of interaction by holding that "the most generic model of any sociocultural phenomenon is the meaningful interaction of to

two or more

.

.

.

individuals."

®

The reason

for this limitation

seen in Sorokin's conception of sociocultural interaction.

be

The

is

latter

includes three inseparably interrelated components: "1) personality as the subject of interaction; 2) society as the totality of interacting personali-

and 3) culture as the totality of the meanings, values, and norms possessed by the interacting personalities and the totality of the vehicles which objectify, socialize, and convey these meanings." Each of these three components is subject to extensive analysis in Sorokin's work. The treatment of culture, however, is by far his most important contribution. Society is crystallized into social groups or systems. Depending on the character of interaction, groups may be organized, unorganized, or ties;

"^

disorganized. Sorokin states:

A

social group, as a totality of interacting individuals,

is

organized

when

meanings and values, as the reason for their interaction, is somewhat consistent within itself and assumes the form of the law-norms

its

central set of

precisely defining all the relevant actions-reactions of the interacting indi-

viduals in their relationship toward one another, the outsiders, and the

world at large; and when these norms are effective, obligatory, and, need be, enforced, in the conduct of the interacting persons.*

This rather complicated statement lated propositions: 1)

may be

Each organized group

is

if

analyzed into four interrecharacterized

by

"a central

meanings and values"; here the term "meaning" is almost synonymous with "idea." This proposition is similar to the institutionaHsts' view (see Chap. 21) that a social group is built around a "directive idea," that set of

*Pitirim A. Sorokin, Society, Culture, and Personality 1947). P- 17*

"

Ibid., p. 4. Ibid., p. 40.

*

Ibid., p. 40.

*

Ibid., p. 63.

*lhid., p.

70 (original in

italics).

(New

York:

Harper,

)

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

234 is,

THEORY

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

an idea which expresses some value to be achieved by the group.* 2)

The

and values must be consistent within itself: a by many functionalists. 3 These consistent ideas and values assume the forai of norms to be followed by the group members. 4) These norms, which Sorokin calls "lawnorms," must be effective and therefore eventually enforceable. The identification of group norms of conduct with law, it should be noted, is tenable only if the term "law" is used in a much broader sense central set of ideas

principle closely approximating a theorem held

than

is usually the case. Following the Russian scholar Petrazhitsky,^** Sorokin defines a law-norm as one which ascribes rights to one party and corresponding duties to another party. This formulation gives the concept a more inclusive meaning than that assigned to legal norms, which re-

quire enforcement by politically organized society.

Sorokin holds that from his definition of interaction, which focuses

upon human conduct

that influences others, one

may

tion that "any group of interacting individuals

functional unity in which

dependent."

derive the proposi-

first

is

of

all

a causal-

components are mutually and tangibly interIn other words, for Sorokin, every social group, even an

^^

all

unorganized one, is a social system. How does Sorokin treat culture, which, as we noted earlier, is such an important part of his theory? In Social and Cultural Dynamics, culture is defined as "the

sum

total of everything

which

the conscious or unconscious activity of two or

is

created or modified by

more individuals

ing with one another or conditioning one another's behavior." in Society, Culture,

of

component

its

and

we have

Personality, as

parts; in this

seen,

work the meaning

is

^^

interact-

Culture,

depicted in terms

of culture

is

incor-

porated in the definition of social interaction and each of its components is carefully defined and shown to be interrelated with the others. First, there are "pure culture systems," which are systems of meanings or ideas

most elementary sense, for example, the proposition that 2X2 Such systems are independent of their acceptance or rejection by men. Second, a culture system may be "objectified" or expressed so as to make it knowable to human beings. Third, culture systems may be "sociaHzed," becoming operative in social interaction. A system of meanings which is expressed in communicable terms and which constitutes an important element of an area of interaction is a sociocultural system, a key

in the

=

4.

concept in Sorokin's sociological theory. Tlie •

most important property of cultural and sociocultural systems

is

is an important part of tlie theory of R. M. Maclver, among Maclver 's analysis of groups, as indicated later in this chapter, is largely

This proposition

others. Thus,

based on the types of

"

Petrazhitsky's

interests (or values) they

magntun opus, Theory

now

of

promote.

Law and

available in abridged English traiislation under the bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1955).

" Sorokin,

Society, Culture,

and

the State (2 vols., 1907)

title

Law and

is

Morality (Cam-

Personality, p. 147.

"Pitirim A. Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics, 4 ican Book Co., 1937-41), vol. I, p. 3.

vols.

(New

York: Amer-

235

Systematic Sociology

tendency to become integrated into systems on ever higher and levels. The problem of culture intergration is treated somewhat differently in the first volume of Social and Cultural Dynamics, on the one hand, and in the fourth volume of the same work, as well as in Society, Culture, and Personality, on the other. In the earlier treatment, "the numerous interrelations of the various elements of culture," Sorokin their

higher

declares, "are reducible to four basic types.

are

marked by

external factor,

spatial or

Thus

cultural interrelations

mechanical adjacency, by association due to some

by causal or functional

integration, or, finally,

by

internal

or logico-meaningful integration.^^ Here causal-functional integration of sociocultural

phenomena

is

identified with causal-functional relations in

the realm of natural phenomena, indicated by uniformity of relations be-

The

tween

variables.

ever,

identity of central

is

criterion of "logico-meaningful" integration,

meaning or

how-

idea.

In his more recent treatment of cultural interrelations, Sorokin shows some tendency to deny or to minimize the appHcability of the concept of causation (at least as used in the natural sciences) to sociocultural phe-

nomena and

and logico-meaningful inand Personality Sorokin states that relationship to one another can be

to identify sociocultural causality

tegration. Thus, in Society, Culture,

"cultural

phenomena,

either integrated

(antagonistic). that

is,

in their

(solidary),

They

.

unintegrated

are integrated

causally connected cultural

.

.

(neutral), or contradictory

when two or more interacting, phenomena stand in a logical or, for .

.

.

phenomena, aesthetic consistency with one another." These, then, conSorokin continues: "Not only the meanings, values, and norms can stand to each other in the relationship of logical or aesthetic consistency, unrelatedness, and contradiction, but also the overt actions and the other material vehicles, so far as they articulate and express the respective meanings, values, and norms." ^^ art

stitute sociocultural systems.

His theoretical writings reveal Sorokin's concern with the hierarchy and the degree of their integration. He conceives the total sociocultural system of a "population" as a "supersystem" which may be more or less integrated. Each supersystem consists of the five of sociocultural systems

and functionally essential systems of language, religion, the arts, and science. Each of these in turn is subdivided into systems, subsystems, sub-subsystems, and so on, which also are more or less inte-

basic

ethics,

grated.

Sorokin emphasizes that his "supersystem" is by no means identical with the sum total of culture items to be found in a given society. For a society's total culture includes, in addition to a supersystem, a certain

number

of congeries. Congeries are related to one another

supersystem

itself in

brought about by external " "

Ibid., vol. I, p.

and

to the

terms of mechanical adjacency or of association factors.

Sorokin, in developing this point,

10.

Sorokin, Society, Culture,

and

Personality, p. 314.

)

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

236 strongly

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

THEORY

and convincingly opposes the view held by certain radical funchave positive functions in a

tionalists that all culture items necessarily

given system. Sorokin, however,

Each supersystem

is

is

primarily concerned with large supersystems.

characterized by a central theme or idea, which

the predominant view of truth in a specific culture. Thus, ascribe ultimate validity to the testimony of their senses, in

is

men may

which case

Sorokin terms the supersystem sensate. If men generally accept the truth of faith, beheving that behind sense impressions Hes another, deeper reality,

the supersystem

ideational These two approaches

is

bined. If the combination of sensate and ideational

system of truth supersystem.

If

is

Sorokin)

may be com-

harmonious, a third

invoked, that of reason, which indicates an idealistic

the two basic systems of truth, the sensate and ideational,

are merely juxtaposed, the system

The

is

is

"mixed."

classification of the four basic culture styles

—sensate,

ideational, idealistic,

and mixed

tion of his theory of social change, a subject

we

a term not used by

(

—forms

the founda-

shall discuss in

Chapter

20.

main theorem, which is developed and extensively illusDynamics and in other volumes, may be described as follows. The central theme of the sociocultural supersystem permeates the fabric of society and culture. If one knows the system of truth that prevails in a society, one should be able to deduce the general nature of its art, Hterature, music, philosophy, and ethics, as well as Sorokin's

trated in the four volumes of

the predominant types of social relations. In this way, according to Sorokin, the style of a culture, a subject treated

by other

scholars in a rather

impressionistic way, can be approached scientifically (Sorokin's

studied quantitatively.

and can even be

methodological views are discussed

below.

We

noted earlier that Sorokin defines sociology as the generahzing

theory of the structure and dynamics of social systems, cultiu-al systems, and "personaHty." The study of personality is the least developed and per-

haps the

work, although two full chapters of and Personality are directly concerned with this subject, numerous passages in this and other volumes. The following

least influential aspect of his

Society, Culture,

as well as quotation suggests Sorokin's fairly conventional sociological approach:

Personality

is

the individual

determined ties of his

a microcosm reflecting the sociocultural macrocosm wherein is bom and lives. The life of an individual is a great drama

first

universe begins to ism,

and

it

and then by the biological properEven before the organism is bom, the sociocultural influence and to determine the properties of the organ-

by

relentlessly maintains this

death and beyond.^^

" Ibid.,

his social universe

organism.

p. 714.

molding process

till

the individual's

237

Syatematic Sociology

Although he strongly stresses the influence of the sociocultural environment in shaping personality, Sorokin, like most sociologists today, avoids a one-sided "sociologistic" interpretation of human behavior. He sees the individual and personahty, on the one hand, and society and cul-

on the other, as interdependent and interacting elements of a totalNor does he assume a one-to-one correspondence between culture and

ture, ity.

personahty. But Sorokin emphasizes the "pluraUstic" nature of personality structure, viewing the pluralism of "selves" in the individual as a reflection of the pluraUsm of groups as a

consequence of

and the multiple

his various

"social egos" of the individual

group memberships.^® In his

earlier Social

Mobility as well as in his more recent works, Sorokin also brings out interconnections between sociocultural patterns and changes and personahty disorganization. Similarly, he holds that each of the broad sociocultural

systems

—the

and

sensate, ideational,

idealistic

—produces

characteristic

personahty types. While Sorokin uses the expression "empirical soul" ( which he identifies with "self' or "ego"), he wisely points out that analysis of the "superempirical or transcendental soul"

outside of sociological discussion:

lies

and metaphysics." ^^ Sorokin's methodological views are most fully developed in the fourth volume of Dynamics and in Sociocultural Causality, Time and Space. He declares himself to be an adherent of an "integralist school" in sociology which investigates social phenomena in three ways. In their "its

analysis belongs to religion

phenomena are studied through sense perception and sensory-empiric observation. Second, the "logico-rational" aspect of sociocultural phenomena must be comprehended through the discursive empirical aspect, social

logic of

human

reason. Finally, "sociocultural reality has

its

supersensory,

and metalogical aspect. It is represented by the great reUThis gions, absolutistic ethics, and the truly great fine arts. must be apprehended through the phase of sociocultural reahty superrational,

.

.

truth of faith, that

is,

.

This

is

.

.

.

^^

a dubious statement indeed. Intuition

is

which involves the acceptance of some

not tantamount to an revelation. Sorokin's

very close to the phenomenological procedure of abstraction," to be discussed in Chapter 21. Therefore,

conception of intuition "ideational

.

through a supersensory, superrational, metalogical

act of intuition or mystic experience."

act of faith,

.

.

is

Sorokin's methodological pluralism is not as inclusive as it first appears. Moreover, his methodological position, we contend, does not transform his sociological theory ( in the meaning defined in Chap. 1 ) into a philo-

sophical theory.

One

of the

most disappointing aspects of Sorokin's methodology

" See especially " Ibid., pp. 345

Society, Culture,

and

Personality, Chaps.

is

XIX and XLVIII.

ff.

"Pitirim A. Sorokin, Sociocultural Causality, University Press, 1943), pp. 227-28.

Time and Space (Durham: Duke

,

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

23^

THEORY

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

what he calls the logico-meaningful method. method is purely logical it is understandable; and when art phenomena are compared with each other it is perhaps also understandable (though some authorities dispute this point). But the correlation of intellectual and esthetic phenomena raises a serious question. How can it be firmly established, on the basis of concomitance in time and space, that certain configurations of intellectual phenomena are "innerly" or meaningfully integrated with specified configurations of esthetic phenomena? lack of precision concerning Insofar as this

Sorokin's illustrations of such integration are often quite plausible, but

cogent proof

is

conspicuous by

its

absence.

Although Sorokin strongly disagrees with the pretensions of the extreme exponents of quantitativism in sociology, he makes abundant use of quantitative methods. Thus, in order to estabhsh the style of a particular sociocultural subsystem, for instance, philosophy, he computes Hsts of those cultural phenomena which most clearly manifest the subsystem ( in the concrete case, the works of the philosophers of the time ) distributes each item among the three major types of culture, and ascribes to each a ,

weight (depending on the number of philosophers' followers, later editions and translations, and other objective criteria). Simple arithmetical calculations result in findings that take the following form: In the

century,

A per cent of Western philosophy was sensate and B

ideahstic.

Such findings support Sorokin's theory of

Nth

per cent was

social change,

but

they also demonstrate a limited possibihty of quantifying data on culture style. In a similar manner, the varying intensity of such phenomena as revolution is measured. The measurements are crude, to be sure, a fact recognized by Sorokin himself. But, with rare exceptions, they do not lead to conclusions that deviate greatly from the views expressed in

war and

by many

Moreover, Sorokin's correlations sometimes open unexpected perspectives into unexplored regions of man's qualitative terms

historians.

sociocultural past.

Parsons

for

From many

Sorokin's

work we turn

to that of Talcott Parsons

(

1902-

)

years Sorokin's colleague at Harvard, also a highly influen-

systematic sociologist. Although there are important similarities between the theories of these two scholars, as we shall see, they are tial

nevertheless often regarded as sociological opponents.

bom in this country and a graduate of Amherst where biology was his primary interest, was greatly influenced by European scholars. As a graduate student at the London School of Economics, he studied wdth the sociologists L. T. Hobhouse and Morris Ginsberg and the anthropologist Mahnowski, who aroused his interest in the functional approach. Subsequently, at Heidelberg, he turned to the German social scientists, writing a doctoral dissertation on The Concept Parsons, though

College,

)

Syatematic Sociology

239

of Capitalism in the Theories of Max Weber and Werner Somhart; within a few years he translated Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit Qf_

Capital ism. In 1926-27 Parsons was an instructor in economics at Amand the following year he assumed the same rank at Harvard, later

herst,

to

become a member

newly created department of sociology under As professor of sociology. Parsons became head

of the

Sorokin's chairmanship.

of Harvard's interdisciplinary department of social relations in 1946, an

he held for several years. At Harvard, Parsons early came into contact with a group of guished economists and became a close student of the work of the

oflBce

distinclassi-

1842-1924 ) He also studied the writings of Durkheim, opponent of Spencerian individualism and exponent of a science of society as a reality sui generis ( see Chap. 9 ) and came under the influence of the physiologist L. J. Henderson, an admirer of the writings cal theorist Alfred Marshall

(

.

,

of

still

scholars,

another major European sociologist, Pareto. Of these various t he works of Weber^the^economis ts, Durkheim, and Pareto we re

esp ecially jmpo rtant in shapin g Parsonsljdieoretic al views3^ndicated_ first major ork, The Structure of Social Action, published in 1937.

w

jnh is

Starting about this time, Parsons has

psychoanalytical

theory,

become

evidenced in

many

increasingly interested in of

his

recent

volumes.

For many years Parsons has consistently emphasized the necessity of developing a systematic, general theory of human behavior. He views the development of abstract theory as a principal index of the maturity of a science. Such theory facilitates description, analysis, and empirical re-

These pursuits. Parsons stresses, require a general frame of reference (such as tridimensional space and force in mechanics) and demand understanding of the structure of the theoretical system as such. Sociolog-

search.

ical^

jhould be structural-functional ( The term "funcby Parsons, as notedl)elow, in a meaning at variance

theory, he^ holds,

tional"

is

often used

.

with that of other functionalists. Parsons' early contributions were based on the conviction that the

appropriate subject matter of sociology

is

social action, a

view

reflecting,

^the strong influence of Max Weber and perhaps, to some extent, the work of ThoJ^^s.^® In The Structure of Social Action Parsons^resents an exT_ treniejyj^gii^licatedjhgo^

taristicb ehavior.

The

analysis

action in is

which

it is

hekLto-be volun-

largel y bgjediHI_the meajis^ends s^^

This complex formulation of a theory of social action, representing an ambitious but early efi^ort by Parsons, is interwo venjwith a detailed aiialy-_

Weber, Diu-kheim, Paret o, and Alfre d Marshall^ and an important secondary source on these s cholars ) and mnreover^^frgr^uentl y has been regarded as too di£S cult or overly abstr act s|s

of the theories of

as such constitutes

,

^

^

" Znaniecki, coauthor with Thomas, Parsons, R. M. Maclver, and Howard Becker have been treated as the leading "social action" tlieorists by R. and G. Hinkle in The Development of American Sociology, Studies in Sociology (New York: Random House, 1954).

^40

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

THEORT

Under the influence of Henderson, Parsons remore appropriate for presentation here. The restated theory was first formulated in a series of papers brought together in Essays in Sociological Theory, Pure and Applied ( 1949 ) but later underwent further change in The^HC^^^S^stem (1951). And while writing this book, certain of Parsons' theoretical views were in the process for utilization in research.

stated his theory in a form

,

of modification, partly under the influence of cooperation with several colleagues.^*^ Parsons' next

ward

A. Shils, with

whom

work has been especially close to that of Edhe wrote a lengthy paper entitled "Values, Mo-

tives, and Systems of Action," published in a symposium edited by the two and entitled Toward a General Theory of Action (1951). The theo-

viewpoint expressed in this paper ^^ in comparison with the original Structure of Social Actio n, in certain respects is even more compli-

retical

cated;

nevertheless,

sociological opinion.

in

many

aspects

However, here

it

comes

sociql_actiori

contrast to the stress given the title-subject in

closer to widely held is

The

again emphasized in

Social System.

Accordi ng to Pa rsons^ thejframe of reference ofJ'acliQn"-involves_an jLCtoiV-a s ituati o n^ -and^tJxeuarientation of the actor to the situation.

fo cus of his theory

is

t he

The

actgrj orie ntation (a conc eption similar

tc^

Thomas' "definition of the situation" ) Two orientational components can be distinguished, moti vatio nal andj)alue orientations, (j^otiyational origntati pn, whic h supplies the energy to be spent in action, is threefold: (1) .CjQg»ti«3£^ corresponding to that which the actor perce^es m^^uationi^ in relation to his system of need-dispositions (which,^eAaps, in Parsons' .

thinking, overlap with attitudes; (2) cathecticj jnvplving„_a_^ocess thiwighjwhich an acto^^ invests an ^bject with affective or emotion al significance; (3) evaluatioe^ by means of which an actor allocates his en ergy tq_yarious interests among which he must choose, yalue orientation", on the other hand, points jto_the observance of certain social norms or stand-

ardSjJiLXQntra^istinctiQiiJfl "jieeds orientatiorL Again, there are

three

tive^the.appreciativej andjthe

which are focal

m odes

in the motivational

of value ori entation:

This, scheme__S£ives__as background for

tihe

construction of jdiree

analytical sy s tems: the social_s^stsm*ih^ personality system, tural

gt/5f 6771.

strac tedfrom

jhe cogni-

mor al.

Parsons emphasizes that, though

all three

and the

modes

cm/-

are ab-

concretejocialbehayior^the empirical referents of the three

typp*; nTabsfraptinn argjtnt^rn^thp!

The meaning Parsons

same

pl^ne.

gives to ^ciolsi^stemjvQxies

in his^nalysis. Social system

is fir st

from place

to place

defined as a plurahty of individual

**See T. Parsons, The Social System (New York: The Free Press, 1951), PP- 537-38. '^ Parsons subsequently published further modifications of his views, particularly T. Parsons, E. A. Shils, and F. Bales, Working Papers in the Theory of Action (New York: The Free Press, 1953); T. Parsons, "Some Comments on the State of the General Theory of Action," American Sociological Review, vol. 18 (1953); and T. Parsons, F. Bales, and others, Family, Socialization, and Interaction Process (New York:

The Free

Press, 1955).

241

Systematic Sociology

actors interacting with one another. Els ewhe re

between actors or a network

jlixelations

it is

said to

be a network

of interactive relationships. This

diversity of definition raises the important conceptual question: are the

"material points" of the social system the actors themselves or social relationships?

Again, the^ocjal system isjdescribed as a plurality of individuals are motivated by a tendency to this situation

is

toppiimum

gratification

and whose

who

relation

defined^JiLlerms of a system of culturally structured

and shared patterns. This proposition, as so many in Parsons' work, requires lengthy explanation guided by continual reference to the preceding analysis of social action. Individuals are "motivated by a tendency to optimum gratification" of needs which, as noted above, dominate motivational orientation. Moreover, the relation of individuals to their social situations

is

defined in terms of specified cultural patterns. Probably the

term "relation" refers to what

is

elsewhere called "orientation"; jQ which

compoAt

case,_lhis_^art of Parsons' proposition points to the other major

neiiLjo£-the actor's orientation to the situatioiyJhejyalue orientation. this place, in the analysis,

one

may assume

rally structured

tha t

thejenn

"value'' doesjioL^^Jear-explicitly;

but

patterns involve values. These pattenis are cultu-

and shared. This_aspect

of the social system jnay serve .as

a kind_ofJbridge_between^qcial^ andcultural jy stems: the social syste

m

includes,SQmething which belongs to culture. Social system in the

and

meaning described

in the preceding paragraph

social system as a plurahty of interacting individuals are

two

different

Majjy pluralities^fjnteracting individuals do not p ossess^ diejraits_ ^epicted in the former, more involved statement. It may be claimed that Parsons has not yet firmly designated the elements of a social system, a things.

lack that prevented a sharp focus for sociological study. .Every case of

human

int^action mayJje^vieyi^^s^a^ociaLsystern in^terrnsjof Parsons'

simpler definition.

He

frequently refers to "stable social systems;!Lin fact,

his theory of the social system might be said to be rath er^a jheory of the stable social system.^^

This criticism, voiced by several commentators,

however, does not detract from Parsons' large-scale and perhaps promising effort both to distinguish conceptually and to bring together in one theoretical

scheme

social systems, culture,

and personaHty.

Parsons views cultur e as "on thejjne hand other

hand a detgrminant

of^ jystems of

human

t^^e

product

of,

on the

social interaction." ^^ In

keeping with conventional anthropological emphasis, he stresses that cujture is transmitted, learned, and shared^ Following his three modes of "Stable. systPTTis-are also referred to by Parsons as 'itructmes." at certain places, a term_he also us es, to designate more or. less, stahle-clusters of social -role_s, as will 5e~shown below. He also uses the term "coJlectivity"-CwhiclLhe prefers to the more_ fre^eotly employed "social group") t " rp;ffr t^^ nntnrs who share common valu e patJterns»_a sense,, of jesponslbilitx foj^ the fulfillment of (role) obligations, and group s^idanty. *Tu Parsons, The Social System, p. 15.

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

04^

IN SOCIOLOGICAL

THEORY

motivational orientation (described above), Parsons distinguishes three

major

classes of culture patterns: (i) systems of ideas or beUefs, charac-

by the primacy of cognitive interests; (2) systems of expressive^ ^symbols^^such as art for ms, characterized by the prima cy of cathectic interized

attachment or rejection of objects) and (:\) systems of value, p atterns." Culture patterns tend to become organized into systems on the basis of the logical consistency of beUef sys-

terests

(

;

orientations or "integrative

tems, the stylistic

body

of

Parsons,

moral

harmony of art forms, or the rational compatibility of a The analysis of cultural systems is not pursued by

rules.

who seems

to consider this task as

one belonging to cultural

anthropology. He_is^ concern ed pr ima rily with cultural syst ems in jo^far asjheyLa£EeGt-sociaLsystem_s

The lier

centr al

works

ij;

theme

''the

and

personality.

of Parsons' sociological theory as

it

appears in ear-

functioning_oLstru^tures." Structural-functional analysis

requires-systematic treatment of the statuses and roles of actors in a social situat ion as well as the institutional patterns involved(^(itus refers to the

place of the actor in a social relationship system considered as a structure; (role,

which

in

any concrete^nstance^isJnse^i;a t)le from

sta tus^nd repre-

sents the,jdynamic aspect of status (hence the_concept o f .status-role) , t o^the_behavinr of fhp. arinr injii.welations with others, whftn viewe d in the context o f itsJunctionaLsignificance for the social systein. Institutiona l patterns are conceived of as patterned ( or "structured" ) ex-

refers

pectations3^hich_define culturally appropriate behavior of persons playin g vario us_soj:daLrQles. an institution^

A .plurahty

of int erdgp endent role4)attems. iornis

In another formulation Parsons identifies plex ofjjnstitutiojial patterns which

is

'jnstituti ons"

tural unit in the socia l sys tem. This formulation transfers

institutioiLirom the level of

with a com-

"convenient" to analyze as a struc-

a^ymbol representing

th^concept of

s ocial reality

to that_of

jlierfwdyoi social. reality, because such convenience is scientific, not social. But this apparently nominalistic view seems to have been modified in Parsons'

more recent

writings. For, in the

la,ft9r.

an

"institution" is de-

clajed,_tgLbejDf .strategic .sigmficance^iiLAny social systeiiLbeing^jsludied.

i This statement probably means that the. existence andjnore or less

eflfi-

cient functioning, of the institutions are_ prerequisites of that stabihty

whi ch

singles-XMit-a^stfucture or_ajtablejystem

fromjhe^ social system at

large^ -Institutions, Parsons holds, are t^ie fines

sociology or_social theory

which he views

(

focaLpoint gf^ociology. He deanthropology

in contradistinction to

as the theory of culture) as that aspect^of the theory of

SQciaLsyLslemsjwhich^is concerned with institutionalizatioi}. ''IjistitutionaHzari^^ Parsons stresses, "must be regarded as thejundamental integrative^mechanism of social systems." ^* For institutionali•*T. Parsons and E. A. Shils, eds., Toward a General Theory of Action bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1951), p. 150.

(Cam-

243

Systematic Sociology

zation involve s both the stru cturalization or patterning of value orientations in the socia l systenLandtlie "internalization" of value systems in the

.hu ma n

then,

Institutionalization,

j)ersp_nality.

is

the

integrative

and

forms a firm link between society and culture on the Qn&-hand and personality and motivation on the other. "Put in personaHty terms this means that there is Ub element of superego organization correlative with every role-orientation pattern of the individual ijx question.yin every case the^internalization of a_superegQ_element means motivation to accept the priority of collective over personal interests, within the appropriate hmits and on ihe-appropnate occasions." ^^ This stabilizing process par, excellence;

it

,

statement, the substance of which

is

illustrated at length in

both "Values,

Motives, and Systems of Action" and The Social System, provides an ex-

ample of why Parsons' recent theory

is

often described as being as

much

psychological (and, in some measure, psychoanalytical) as sociological.

Of course. Parsons is clearly aware that his treatment of the social system brings sociology very close to psychology. The following statement indicates his view on the relationship of the two sciences: "The relation of psychology to the theory of social systems appears to be closely analogous to that of biochemistry to general physiology. Just as the organism is not a category of general chemistry, so a social system is not one of psychology. But within the framework of the physiological conception of what a func-

tioning organism

is,

the processes are chemical in nature. Similarly, the

processes of social behavior as of any other are psychological. But without the meaning given

them by

their institutional-structural context they lose

their relevance to the understanding of social

Among

the

many

phenomena."

^^

ramifications of the theory outlined above, one has

perhaps caught most attention on the part of Parsons' fellow sociologists. This is what he calls "tljemttem variables." Their discovery, he beUeves, has been the core of his theoretical contribution.

which appear both in The Social System, Parsons^resents^five pairs of alternatives, viewing these, on a cejt.ainjevel of generalization, a s exhau stive. But in a later paper ( cited in footnote 20) he notes the possibility of constructing a sixth pair, but this line of development has not been pursued in his later works.

The^atjem

^orms, or

variables denote the alternatives

role expectation

pattems^ and

in individ uaLchoiees, In

Five p attern variab les are delineated, as follows: (1) Affectivity versus aff£ctk^_mutrality: the pattern is affective if it permits the immediate gratification of the actor!s-interest, but affectively neutral if it imposes discipline,

demands renouncement

interesLverms

in favor of other interests;

coUectiveinteresti social

norms may define

(2)

Self-

as legitimate

*lhid.

*T. Parsons, Essays in The Free Press, 1949), p.

Sociological

Theory,

The

Pure and Applied

(Glencoe,

Social System, Parsons stresses that his sociological theory is not based on psychology but rather on a general theory of action, the outlines of which are presented by Parsons and associates in Part I of

111.:

Toward a General Theory

38. In his later

of Action.

CONTEMPORARY CONVERGENCE

244

the pursuit of the actor's private interests, or obhgate

(^

interests of the group.

THEORY

IN SOCIOLOGICAL.

him

to act in the

Universalism versus particularism: the former

refers to value standards that are highly generalized, the latter to those

having significance for a particular actor

P erformaricejoersus stress may be given

ticular objects. (4)

versus ascription" )

:

in particular relations

with par-

qualitt£{ ohginally "achievement either to the achievement of cer-

tain goals (performance), or to the attributes of the other person, to the fact that

and so

he

is

such and such; for example, the actor's father, a physician, an interest can be defined

on. (5) Specificity versus diffuseness:

specifically so that

no obligation

is

assumed

to exist

beyond the boundary

thus indicated, or in a diffuse manner so that obligations going beyond the explicit definition

may be assumed

to exist.

Since, in principle, these alternatives are independent of each other,

there are, one could argue, thirty-two possible combinations of "role ex-

The

pectation patterns." In

Social System, Parsons himself has examined

sixteen such combinations; here the second alternative, because of cial significance for integration,

same

ing Papers, the

its

spe-

has been "placed in the middle." In Work-

alternative

is

applied only to relations between sys-

tems and not to the internal constitution of systems, whereas the other alternatives are paired in such a way that only four combinations remain, namely specificity and universalism, affectivity and performance, diflFuseness and particularism, and affective neutrality plus quality.

This revised scheme of pattern variables tion

and Interaction

the child in the family. .

fissions^^jhrough

opment^ phases

it

whirh

used in Family, Socializa-

a fnTly «;npia1i7p(j^ppr«;nnalify PTnprge